21:31 GMT24 February 2021
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    Earlier, at a private roundtable hosted on 10 April by the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies, military intervention options against Venezuela were discussed, The Gray Zone reported on Sunday.

    Venezuelan Executive Vice President Delcy Rodriguez has accused the United States, Brazil and Colombia of preparing a military invasion of the Bolivarian Republic. A corresponding statement was made on Monday:

    "The international community and its institutions for protecting legitimacy around the world should be aware that a criminal plan has been conceived to stage a military attack on Venezuela," Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said on Monday.

    If they choose to proceed with their plans, these countries "will commit crimes against humanity and will have to bear responsibility on the international level," she noted.

    READ MORE: US Knows It Must Do 'Something Quite Dramatic' to Overthrow Maduro — Analyst

    Meanwhile, the US Department of Defence is considering new military options against Venezuela to deter alleged Russian, Cuban and Chinese influence in the Latin American country, CNN cited an unnamed Pentagon official as saying.

    The source said that the deterrence options are being developed by the Pentagon's Joint Staff and the Southern Command, which oversees “any US military involvement in the southern hemisphere”.

    This comes after National Security Adviser John Bolton instructed acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan last week to formulate ideas on how to deal with the Venezuela crisis. The options could include US naval drills and more military interaction with neighbouring countries to prevent Moscow, Havana and Beijing from obtaining “unchallenged access to the region”, according to the official.

    READ MORE: Pentagon Mulling New Venezuela Options to Deter Russia, China & Cuba – Report

    On Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry slammed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recent allegations related to Moscow’s “intervention in Venezuela” as unacceptable. In an interview with Mega TV on 12 April Mr Pompeo said that Russia "intervened" and "went against the leadership of the country of Venezuela". He further claimed that Russia is "there as a hostile power", and that Juan Guaido, who illegally proclaimed himself Venezuela's interim president, is "the duly elected leader".

    Mr Pompeo also referred to President Nicolas Maduro as "the former leader of Venezuela".

    READ MORE: Canada Sanctions 43 Venezuelan Officials, People Close to Maduro — Ottawa

    "The undiplomatic manners of the current US foreign policy chief cast doubt on the fact that he sees Russian-American contacts at the relevant level as an opportunity for constructive dialogue," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

    On 23 January Venezuelan National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido proclaimed himself the country's acting president, with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro swiftly branding the move a coup attempt.

    The United States was among the first to recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as president, and rushed to impose a number of economic restrictions on the Venezuelan economy to pressure Nicolas Maduro and his supporters. 

    Russia, in addition to numerous other world powers, expressed support for Nicolas Maduro as Venezuela's only legitimate president.


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