United Kingdom and other European countries recognise Guaidó as Venezuela's leader

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Nine European nations have now joined the United States in recognising opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president, heightening a global showdown over President Nicolas Maduro's rule.

"Imposing any solutions or efforts aimed at legitimizing the attempt of usurping power is, in our view, just direct and indirect meddling in Venezuela's internal affairs", Peskov said.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels after a meeting of European Union foreign affairs ministers, top EU diplomat Federica Mogherini said that "the EU and its member states never recognised as legitimate the presidential elections that were held a year ago [in Venezuela]".

The 35-year-old Guaido, head of the country's National Assembly, has breathed new life into a previously fractured and tired opposition.

"Therefore, Guaido is the person we are talking to and we expect him to begin an election process as soon as possible".

It remained unclear how Guaido could fund and operate an interim presidency with Maduro refusing to budge.

He added that Venezuela is being "threatened by the biggest powers in the world".

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt promptly followed suit, saying on Twitter he hoped "this takes us closer to ending humanitarian crisis".

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted he backs Guaido as the "acting president to implement an electoral process".

The cascade of support from European Union countries came after the passing of a Sunday deadline for Maduro to call presidential elections.

But in an interview with Spanish television station Sexta broadcast on Sunday evening, Maduro said he would not "cave in to pressure" from those calling for his departure.

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"If someday there'll be a coup; if there'll be a USA intervention of Venezuela, then, Senior Pedro Sanchez, your hands will be stained in blood forever and history will remember you as a puppet in service of Donald Trump's policy of interference", President Maduro said in an address, broadcast live on his Twitter page.

"They are trying to corner us with ultimatums to force us into an extreme situation of confrontation", Maduro said.

In addition to the European pressure, a bloc of Latin American nations and Canada were to meet on Monday seeking to maintain pressure on President Maduro.

Under anti-U.S. populist leader Hugo Chavez, Mr. Maduro's late predecessor and political mentor, Russian Federation became one of Venezuela's strongest allies with economic ties including crude oil, loans and arms sales.

Guaido lost no time Monday in building on broadened global support, with his fledgling alternative administration announcing February 14 talks in Washington on responding to "the largest hemispheric humanitarian crisis in modern history".

"As a country that has an open-arms policy towards Venezuelans, we have received many important figures from the democratic opposition", said Federico Hoyos, Colombia's ambassador to Canada.

Maduro then continued his accusations against the Trump administration, which he claims is preparing a coup and that "the military option is on [President] Donald Trump's table".

All eyes are now on Venezuela's military, which has so far been Maduro's main pillar of support, but there have been signs of wavering in the ranks.

Seven EU states had given Maduro a Sunday deadline to call presidential elections or they would recognize Guaido. Tens of thousands of people thronged the streets of various Venezuelan cities on Saturday to protest Maduro's government.

The opposition leader says up to 300,000 people are "at risk of death" from malnutrition and illness after years of shortages of basic food and medicines.

Venezuelan opposition leader looking to challenge President Maduro's blockage of humanitarian aide; Steve Harrigan reports from Caracas.

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