US, UK say Venezuela’s Maduro ‘illegitimate’, Russia and Turkey express support

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The United States and Britain said on Thursday that Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro is not legitimate, while Russia and Turkey expressed their support to the legal authorities.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro not to use force against mass demonstrations and urged further international support for the self-declared acting president.

"The time for debate is done. The regime of former president Nicolas Maduro is illegitimate," Pompeo said.

"His regime is morally bankrupt, it's economically incompetent, and it is profoundly corrupt, and it is undemocratic to the core," he said.

Britain said Nicolas Maduro was "not the legitimate leader of Venezuela" and that London would support the presidential claim made by opposition leader Juan Guaido.

"The United Kingdom believes Juan Guaido is the right person to take Venezuela forward. We are supporting the US, Canada, Brazil and Argentina to make that happen," Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday called his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro and expressed support, the Kremlin said.

"The President of Russia expressed support for the legitimate authorities of Venezuela in the context of a domestic political crisis that has been provoked from the outside," it said.

Putin said that any intervention by other countries "violates the fundamental norms of international law," according to the statement.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan phoned Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to offer support, and said he was shocked that Washington had backed the opposition leader's move to declare himself interim leader.

Venezuela will close its embassy and all consulates in the United States, President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday, one day after he broke off diplomatic relations in response to US recognition of an opposition leader as interim president.

With agencies.

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