China, Russia warn against US 'humanitarian assistance' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 23, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:13 AM, February 23, 2019

CRISIS IN VENEZUELA

China, Russia warn against US 'humanitarian assistance'

China and Russia yesterday said they were against forcefully sending "so-called humanitarian assistance" to Venezuela, warning it could spark conflict in the crisis-torn country.

China has loaned billions to Venezuela and has remained committed to President Nicolas Maduro even as the country has fallen deeper into economic crisis.

Foreign aid mostly from the US has piled up on Venezuela's borders as the Maduro government refuses to let it into the country.

"If the so-called humanitarian assistance were forcefully sent to Venezuela it might trigger conflict and lead to serious consequences," said China's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

"China is against a military intervention in Venezuela and against any behaviour that might cause escalation or turmoil," he told reporters.

Meanwhile, Russia yesterday accused the United States of using aid deliveries to Venezuela as a ploy to carry out military action against Maduro's government.

"A dangerous provocation, instigated and led by Washington, is planned for February 23," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, pointing to efforts by opposition leader Juan Guaido to pick up US aid being stockpiled on the Colombian border.

Opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido has vowed to bring aid in from various points today "one way or another" despite military efforts to block it.

Shipments of food and medicine for Venezuelans suffering in the country's economic crisis have become a focus of the power struggle between Maduro and Guaido.

Maduro ordered the closure of Venezuela's border with Brazil on Thursday. Guaido set out in a convoy of vehicles to personally pick up US aid being stockpiled on the other side of the Colombian border, defying Maduro's military to stop him.

Maduro also warned Thursday he was considering "a total closure of the border with Colombia" to Venezuela's west.

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