US Plans to Buy Weapons for Venezuelan Opposition in Eastern Europe: Zakharova

 MOSCOW-  The US is considering the possibility of buying weapons for the Venezuelan opposition in one of Eastern European countries, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday.

"We have information that companies from the US and its NATO allies are considering the possibility of buying a large batch of weapons in one of Eastern European countries in order to provide them to the Venezuelan opposition. The batch will reportedly include heavy machine guns, grenade launchers, portable missile launchers and ammunition for light weapons and artillery systems. So this is what they mean when they talk about delivering humanitarian aid," she said, Itar Tass reported.

  Zakharova also said that the US and its allies intended to use cargo aircraft belonging to an international freight forwarder to deliver several shipments of weapons to Venezuela in early March "through a neighboring country".

 "There is also a Ukrainian trace in this brazen plan. In particular, it is going to involve the Antonov state company, as far as we understand," the Russian diplomat noted, according to Tass.

 Crisis in Venezuela

 On January 23, Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital of Caracas.

Several countries, including the United States, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him. Maduro, in turn, blasted the move as a coup staged by Washington and said he was severing diplomatic ties with the US.

In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey voiced support for Maduro, while China called for resolving all differences peacefully and warned against foreign interference. The United Nations secretary general, in turn, called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.

On February 4, most of the European Union member states recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.

 H.M

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