Russia and China strongly criticized U.S. sanctions placed on Venezuela, with the former pledging to support the beleaguered President Nicolas Maduro.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday the sanctions completely undermined confidence in a international financial system that is dominated by the U.S., Russian news agency Interfax reported.
"Russia is doing everything to support the lawful government of Maduro," Lavrov added, calling U.S. sanctions against Venezuelan state energy firm PDVSA "cynical." Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov added that the restrictions continue an "undisguised interference in its (Venezuela's) internal affairs," calling them "illegal."
The U.S. administration announced sanctions against the state's dominant energy firm PDVSA on Monday in a bid to damage the socialist dictator, President Nicolas Maduro, who is clinging to power amid a leadership battle.
Last week, the opposition leader of Venezuela's National Assembly, Juan Guaido, named himself interim president after street protests against Maduro. The U.S. recognized that claim and has been encouraging support for regime change in Venezuela, a country hit by the economic policies of Maduro.