WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US President Donald Trump demanded Wednesday that Russia drop support for Venezuela’s leader Nicolas Maduro after Moscow deployed troops and equipment to bolster the hard-left government.
“Russia has to get out,” Trump said at the White House alongside Fabiana Rosales, wife of opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been recognised by the United States and more than 50 other countries as Venezuela’s interim president in place of Maduro.
Rosales was given a high-profile reception in the Trump administration’s latest bid to boost Guaido, who is under severe pressure from Moscow-backed Maduro. On Thursday, she will meet with US First Lady Melania Trump in Florida.
Trump said “all options are on the table” when asked by journalists if the United States was considering military action to back up a major campaign of economic sanctions aimed at crippling the Maduro government’s finances.
“They’ve got a lot of pressure right now. They have no money, they have no oil, they have no nothing. They’ve got plenty of pressure right now. They have no electricity,” he said.
“Other than military you can’t get any more pressure than they have … All options are open.”
Earlier, Rosales met separately with Vice President Mike Pence, who plays a major role in the administration’s aggressive stand against Maduro, and also called out Russia.
He said “the United States views Russia’s arrival of military planes this weekend as an unwelcome provocation and we call on Russia today to cease all support for the Maduro regime.”
“Guaido is the only legitimate president of Venezuela. Venezuela is in crisis after years of dictatorship and oppression,” Pence said.