The United States has threatened Russia with new sanctions over its support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro shortly after announcing punitive measures against several individuals and groups for their involvement in an emergency food program.
The White House representative for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, said the new sanctions would be announced against Moscow on Thursday.
“The pressure will continue,” he said. “On Russia, we are still thinking about what sanctions to apply, individual or sartorial.”
Abrams said he thinks the pressure has had a “fairly dramatic” effect on Caracas.
The administration of US President Donald Trump— who was quick in recognizing Venezuela’s opposition figure Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate leader earlier this year— has actively been undermining Maduro’s government in a bid to replace him with Guaido.
It has levied several rounds of sanctions against the country, confiscated Venezuela’s state oil assets based in the US which have been channeled to Guaido.
The Trump administration has repeatedly called on Moscow to withdraw its support for Maduro. Russia, however, has rejected the request, saying Washington was trying to instigate a coup in defiance of international law.
The US had already backed a coup attempt against the government of Maduro in April.
Guido, the speaker of the now-defunct Venezuelan National Assembly, orchestrated the coup against the government on April 30, during which a small group of armed troops accompanying Guaido clashed with Venezuelan soldiers in the capital, Caracas.
The putsch quickly petered out, though, and some 25 renegade soldiers sought refuge at the Brazilian embassy in Caracas.