Moscow Says Outraged by US Sanctions Against Venezuelan Foreign Minister

Moscow Says Outraged by US Sanctions Against Venezuelan Foreign Minister © AP Photo / Dmitry Lovetsky

Moscow is outraged by Washington’s sanctions against Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday.

The US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said in a statement on its website on Friday that the US imposed sanctions on Arreaza as well as Judge Carol Padilla.

“We were outraged at the report that the United States imposed personal sanctions on Venezuelan Foreign Minister Arreaza. A blatant attempt was made again to put pressure on the government of that country and the entire Venezuelan people,” the Russian ministry said.

“We urge the United States to return to the international legal field, to stop the policy of blackmail and provoking tension in Venezuela from outside. The world community needs to promote the establishment of an inclusive intra-Venezuelan dialogue. There is no alternative," it said.

The ministry said that Washington would like, through sanctions, to prevent international contacts of legitimate authorities in Caracas, including at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Earlier the Trump administration has imposed several rounds of sanctions against Venezuela's oil sector as well as against individuals after US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido illegally declared himself interim president in late January. In addition, after immediately recognising Guaido, Washington seized billions of dollars' worth of Venezuelan oil assets.

UN special rapporteurs and human rights lawyers have argued that the US sanctions violate international law and may constitute crimes against humanity.

Some 40,000 Venezuelans have died in less than two years as a result of illegal US sanctions, a study co-authored by world-renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs revealed on Thursday.

Maduro has accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a coup in order to install Guaido as a US puppet.

Russia, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Turkey and a number of other countries have voiced their support for Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.