Speaking about the situation in crisis-hit Venezuela, the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that Moscow has no contacts with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido. As the ministry explained, Moscow could hold a dialogue only with opposition forces that are ready for it and that if this isn't the case with Guaido, then there is no ground for communication with him.
"Mr Guaido has the right to believe in what he believes. At the same time, we know that he is an absolutely non-independent politician who checks his every step with the United States, so we didn't have contact with him because of his absolute lack of independence", Director of the Latin American Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Schetinin stated.
Schetinin reiterated Moscow's stance on the issue, underlining that it is important to facilitate the establishment of an intra-Venezuelan dialogue between "all the constructive and patriotically minded forces of that country".
"In this case, we are ready to contribute to the establishment of such a dialogue", he said.
The Monroe Doctrine
Commenting on US National Security Advisor John Bolton's remark that Washington could apply the Monroe Doctrine to the country, the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry called it "absolutely reckless".
"This is a completely reckless statement by the representative of the American administration, who set out to rebuild the Latin American region according to its patterns, according to its model. This is absolutely unacceptable and shows that all the talk about 'restoring democracy' in Venezuela is only a cover", Schetinin stated.
The Monroe Doctrine, mentioned by Bolton, was announced by President James Monroe in 1823 and was aimed at opposing European colonialism in the Americas. The document declared that all countries in Latin America were within the US sphere of influence.
The ministry's representative stressed that Moscow was ready to discuss Venezuela with the United States at the expert level, but only on the basis of the UN charter.
At the same time, Schetinin has mentioned that Moscow was preparing to send a new batch of humanitarian aid to crisis-torn Venezuela via UN humanitarian channels.
"Yes. We are sending humanitarian aid, through the UN, the World Health Organization [WHO], and other organizations. The channels are being discussed and coordinated", Shchetinin said, responding to a question about the possibility of sending a new batch of humanitarian assistance through WHO.
Meanwhile, the crisis continues: yesterday, Guaido returned to Venezuela after he visited neighbouring Latin American states despite a travel ban imposed on him by the Venezuelan Supreme Court as part of an ongoing investigation.
Commenting on Guaido's return, Schetinin noted that Venezuela’s government avoided the trap of arresting the US-backed opposition.
"President [Nicolas Maduro] was being pushed into this provocation but they [authorities] avoided it with grace. I think this shows that the Maduro administration is absolutely determined to settle it all peacefully," Aleksander Shchetinin told reporters.
Earlier this week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has called Guaido a US puppet and blamed Washington for trying to stage a coup in Venezuela, stated that the opposition leader must be put on trial upon returning. Guaido may now face up to 30 years in prison for violating the aforementioned travel ban.