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Kremlin Claims European Moves To Recognize Guaido Are 'Foreign Meddling'

Venezuela divided the world - Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido

The Kremlin says that moves by some European countries to recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president amounted to foreign meddling and that Venezuelans, not foreign forces, should resolve their own domestic political issues.

Guaido, who leads the opposition-controlled National Assembly, declared himself temporary leader last month in a move that has split global powers.

Spain, Britain, France, Austria, Sweden, and Denmark recognized Guaido as interim president on February 4, with Paris saying he had the right to organize an election given the socialist government of embattled President Nicolas Maduro's refusal to do so.

The coordinated move from major European nations came after the expiry of an eight-day deadline they set last for Maduro to call a new vote.

"Attempts to legitimise usurped power" constituted "interference in Venezuela's internal affairs," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on February 4.

"Any resultion of Venezuela's internal political crisis is possible only [if it is conducted] by Venezuelans themselves," Peskov said.

Guaido and his supporters reject the argument that letting Venezuelans resolve the country's political issues means leaving Maduro in power, saying that his May 2018 reelection was illegitimate because his strongest opponents were barred from running.

Critics also say Maduro has run the oil-rich nation like a dictatorship and wrecking its economy.

Maduro has accused European countries of sycophantically following the example of U.S. President Donald Trump, who quickly recognized Guaido as interim president.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa, and RIA-Novosti