"Nicolas Maduro, who came to power as a result of legitimate transparent elections that were observed by international monitors, is the only legitimate president of Venezuela from Russian point of view … Concerning the [opposition-controlled] National Assembly, its leader Juan Guaido, who proclaimed himself as an interim president of Venezuela, is not recognized by us," Ryabkov said at a press conference after a meeting with US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams.
He also pointed out the need for an intra-Venezuelan dialogue, which should be held without foreign pressure.
Ryabkov described his talks on Venezuela with US Envoy Elliott Abrams on Tuesday as difficult but frank, giving Moscow a better understanding of US stance on the Venezuelan crisis.
"The conversation turned out to be quite difficult, but frank," Ryabkov said at a news conference after the talks.
"Today’s talks with Abrams and other representatives of the US administration, according to our assessment, were useful, despite the fact that we could not bring closer together our positions on the fundamental aspects of our approaches to this situation," Ryabkov said.
"But we have a better understanding now of the US approaches to what is happening, we felt the “nerve” of American policy in this area, and we will analyze the signals that we received from the American side," he stressed.
"We stressed that, in any scenario, the Russian interests in Venezuela must be protected. This concerns the security of Russian nationals who are there as well as other forms of presence. We believe that Washington has heard the message," Ryabkov said at a press conference in Rome.
The talks took place at the Westin Excelsior hotel in Rome earlier in the day.