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Russia Says Venezuela Crisis Must Be Resolved ‘Without Outside Pressure’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks at a press conference in Bolivia on August 16.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that the crisis in Venezuela should be resolved peacefully and without external intervention.

Lavrov said on August 16 that Venezuela must "overcome differences that exist in that country exclusively in a peaceful manner, via national dialogue, without any outside pressure -- without speaking of the unacceptable threats of military interference in the country's internal affairs."

He was speaking following talks with Bolivian Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni Mamani in Moscow.

Lavrov's comments came after U.S. President Donald Trump said on August 11 that he was looking at all options on the South American country "including a possible military option," prompting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to order the armed forces to hold exercises.

Venezuela has been the scene of violent protests against Maduro's moves to increase his power and silence the opposition. The unrest has left more than 120 people dead since April.

In recent years, Russia has increased its ties with Venezuela, a country with the largest oil reserves in the world.

Caracas has turned to Russia as a source of military hardware and investment in the energy and mining sectors, as other states pulled out over concerns about the country’s instability.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP