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Russian official warns Trump administration against military intervention in Venezuela

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 1/24/2019 Deirdre Shesgreen
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WASHINGTON – A senior Russian official on Thursday warned the Trump administration against military intervention in Venezuela, saying it would create a "catastrophic scenario" in the region. 

"We warn against this," Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said in an interview with International Affairs magazine, a Russian media outlet. "We believe that this would be a catastrophic scenario that would shake the foundations of the development model we see in the Latin American region."

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump recognized Juan Guaido, head of Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly, as the country’s interim president Wednesday – saying Nicolas Maduro is not the country's legitimate leader.

The Trump administration has said it will use "all options" to pressure Maduro to relinquish power. But their comments have emphasized economic sanctions, not military force.  

Maduro was sworn in on Jan. 11 to a second term amid allegations of electoral fraud. With the country in upheaval, Guaido declared himself interim president on Wednesday, saying he was “formally assuming the responsibility of the national executive.”

Russia has supported Maduro's government politically and militarily. The Kremlin dispatched two Russian bombers to Venezuela last month, a provocative move that raised red flags in Washington. 

a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Anti-government protesters cheer after Juan Guaido, head of Venezuela's opposition-run congress, declares himself interim president of the South American country until a new election can be called, at a rally demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. © Boris Vergara, AP Anti-government protesters cheer after Juan Guaido, head of Venezuela's opposition-run congress, declares himself interim president of the South American country until a new election can be called, at a rally demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Russian official warns Trump administration against military intervention in Venezuela

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