Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Sunday said that Russia condemns what he called a campaign to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, arranged by the U.S., and urged Washington to cancel its “irresponsible” plans.
Lavrov made the statements at the start of a meeting with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza in Moscow.
Lavrov is traveling on Monday to Finland, where he is expected to hold a rare face-to-face talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Similarly, Pompeo on Sunday said he plans to tell his counterpart in Moscow, Lavrov, that the Russian government must leave Venezuela.
The U.S. is among more than 50 countries backing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido’s efforts to topple the country’s embattled President Maduro.
In spite of hundreds of soldiers defecting to Colombia and Brazil, the president has held on to power thanks to the support of the vast majority of the army.
“I’m going to tell [Lavrov] the same thing the president told the world – that every country must get out, including the Russians,” Pompeo told Fox News Sunday.
“We don’t want anyone messing around with Venezuela.”
Pompeo’s comments come as the two officials are expected to meet in Finland on Monday during the Arctic Council session.
The U.S. top diplomat’s comments on Russia stand in stark contrast to U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement this week that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “not looking at all to get involved” in Venezuela.