The United States warned on Monday, March 25, that it will not remain passive while Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela with its support for the government of Nicolás Maduro .
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told his counterpart Sergei Lavrov that “the continued insertion of Russian military personnel to support the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela may prolong the suffering of the Venezuelan people.”
According to State Department spokesman Robert Palladino, Pompeo also urged Lavrov to cease his “unconstructive behavior”.
Pompeo made the call to Moscow just hours after Russian planes arrived in Caracas over the weekend as part of the military cooperation between the two allies.
The United States and 50 other countries have recognized the president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, as Venezuelan president, after considering the May 2018 elections as fraudulent, in which Maduro was re-elected for a second term.
Russia and China are Maduro’s main allies and do not recognize Guaidó.
Last week, officials from the United States and Russia met in Rome to talk about Venezuela but remained aloof on how to resolve the acute political and economic crisis of the South American country.
Moscow says it is concerned that Washington is considering military intervention in Venezuela. The United States, for its part, maintains that it is focusing on political, financial and diplomatic pressures to expel Maduro, although President Donald Trump has said that “all options are on the table.”