The Russian Foreign Ministry’s statements come after reports suggesting that the United States has been engaged in direct contact with members of Venezuela’s army, urging them to pledge allegiance to opposition leader Juan Guaido.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has warned of an increasing number of signs that a military coup in Venezuela is becoming “West’s priority”.

The ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that the United States has chosen a highly confrontational scenario in Venezuela and is openly encouraging Venezuela’s armed forces to start mutiny.

In a phone conversation with his American counterpart Mike Pompeo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned Washington against any military interference in Venezuela, Zakharova said.

“I would like to remind you that the day before yesterday, on the initiative of the American side, there was a telephone conversation between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the US Secretary of State, Mr Pompeo, during which the Russian minister warned against any external interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela”.

The ministry spokeswoman elaborated that Russia was sticking to norms of international law and sovereignty in accordance with the UN Charter, and was ready to a dialogue based on those principles, including with the United States.

According to her, the provocation was being prepared from Colombia’s Cucuta under the guise of a humanitarian convoy to Venezuela, and emphasised that it could nor rule out casualties.

“Let us not be deceived, or deceive others — a provocation, including with casualties, is being prepared under the guise of a humanitarian convoy. And it is needed as a pretext for a forceful action from outside. And everyone should clearly understand this. We consider it urgently necessary to refrain from steps and statements that could provoke an escalation of tension in Venezuela, in particular, any appeals to the Venezuelan armed forces fraught with their involvement in internal civil confrontation”, she said.

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