'I Am a Soldier, Just Like You': Maduro Stresses Army's Readiness for Drills

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has observed the maneuvers of the country's air force and infantry, noting the readiness of the Armed Forces for military exercises scheduled for 10-15 February.

"I am a soldier, just like you, we dream and feel the same, equally love our homeland… I thank the Armed Forces, who are preparing for military exercises on February 10-15, that they mobilized in the name of the homeland. We need top-level armed forces to guarantee territorial integrity and defense of the country […] Imperialism will lose", Maduro told the Venezuela's military.

A video of his speech appeared on the president’s Twitter.

The political crisis in Venezuela escalated last week when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the country's interim president. The move was immediately welcomed by the United States, which urged Maduro to step down and officially recognized Guaido as the country's leader.

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Maduro, in turn, has insisted that he is the country's constitutional president and accused the opposition leader of being a "US puppet". Maduro also accused Washington, which has long voiced concerns over the legitimacy of his re-election last year, of organizing a coup in Venezuela.

Some certain countries, mostly those in Latin America, have recognized Guaido as the acting Venezuelan president. In turn, Russia, Cuba, China, Turkey and Iran have given Maduro's government full support.

READ MORE: US Gives Venezuela's Opposition Leader Juan Guaido Control Over Some Assets

Moreover, on Saturday, such European powers as France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom gave Maduro an ultimatum stating that they would recognize Guaido as interim president if new elections were not announced in Venezuela within eight days.

Maduro, for his part, has rejected the ultimatum, saying that it ignored Venezuela's rights of a sovereign state.

READ MORE: Russia Vows to Support Venezuela's Legitimate Authorities

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