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    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro attends a military exercise in Turiamo, Venezuela February 3, 2019.

    Maduro Accuses Colombia, Opposition of Creating Gangs to Attack Country's Border

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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (392)
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    MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused Colombia and the Venezuelan opposition of creating gangs for attacks on the Venezuelan border on 23 February, when the opposition tried to forcefully bring unauthorized US-sponsored aid into Venezuela from Colombia.

    "Gangs of Colombian criminals, armed formations and Venezuelan thugs were set up to attack [the Venezuelan] border on February 23. But they did not pass and they shall never pass. Hands off Venezuela, we demand respect for our sovereignty and territory", Maduro said in a statement, broadcast via Periscope late on Tuesday.

    The attempt to deliver the so-called aid resulted in clashes between the Venezuelan National Guard officers, who prevented trucks with aid from crossing the country's border without permission, and pro-aid protesters, who tried to help deliver the alleged aid into Venezuela.

    READ MORE: US Spy Plane Reportedly Spotted Over Venezuela as Maduro Warns of Risk of War

    Four people were killed on the border with Brazil, which has been collecting aid as well, according to Venezuelan non-governmental organization Criminal Forum. Head of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro, in turn, said that at least 335 people had been injured in border clashes between law enforcement officers and protesters.

    Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that Caracas agreed to accept over $2.3 billion worth of funding in technical humanitarian aid from the European Union. At the same time, the president has categorically refused to authorize the deliveries of aid sponsored by the United States, which has been one of the most ardent supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido, as he describes the so-called aid as a ploy to oust him from power and a "show" aimed at justifying an intervention into Venezuela.

    Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said that international law provided for deliveries of foreign humanitarian aid only in cases of natural disasters and armed conflicts and denied the allegations of humanitarian crisis in the country.

    READ MORE: Venezuela Refuses to Become the 68th Sovereign Government Overthrown By America

    The United Nations and the Red Cross have urged Washington not to politicize humanitarian assistance and not to deliver aid without the consent of the Venezuelan government.

    Maduro has repeatedly accused Washington of trying to orchestrate a coup ever since US-backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president last month. Within days of Guaido’s pronouncement, the United States seized billions of dollars' worth of Venezuela’s oil assets while several US officials threatened to take military action against Maduro’s government.

    Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia and a number of other states have reaffirmed their support for constitutionally elected Maduro as Venezuela’s only legitimate president. In addition, the United Nations also still recognizes the Maduro government.

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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (392)

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    opposition, provocation, violence, gangs, border, Nicolas Maduro, Colombia, Venezuela
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