United States imposes new Venezuela-related sanctions

Venezuela turns to Russia for help as crisis deepens

A USA -backed drive to deliver "humanitarian aid" to Venezuela through border crossings on February 23 met strong resistance from the Venezuelan government as President Nicolas Maduro believed the aid, mainly from the United States, is a smokescreen for a military invasion. "We're not talking about and the reason they're talking about it is they're trying to diminish the worldwide support for Guaido and the Venezuelan people and we should not be playing into that", he said.

The votes on Thursday saw the same heated exchanges between supporters of Maduro and Guaido that have characterized every council meeting on Venezuela.

The list includes National Guard Commander Richard Lopez and five other police and military officials based near the Colombian or Brazilian borders.

The sanctions block any assets they have in U.S. jurisdictions and bar Americans from conducting financial transactions with them.

The United States also revoked the visas of "dozens" more officials and their families, said Elliott Abrams, the U.S. special representative on the crisis.

"You know what is happening with oil assets of Venezuela located in the United States and other countries that show antipathy towards Venezuela, deprive it of assets and financial resources".

Venezuelans use the Tachira river as a crossing point on the Colombia and Venezuela border, with the Simon Bolivar International Bridge in the background, in La Parada, Colombia, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019.

Guaido, who is recognized by most Western nations as Venezuela's rightful leader, visited Paraguay on Friday and was due to travel to Argentina later in the day to shore up Latin American support for a transition government for the crisis-stricken nation.

Indo-Pak Tensions: Eight Airports Shut, Airspace North of Delhi Vacated
Heavy rush of passengers at air ticket counter near entrance of Jammu Airport following cancellation of flights on Wednesday. Indian Air Force violated the Line of Control in the wee hours of Tuesday before being whisked away by Pakistan Air Force.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, receiving Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez in Moscow on Friday, said that Russia was stepping up shipments of wheat into Venezuela and was considering more shipments of medical supplies after sending 7.5 tonnes worth.

With UN support ruled out, sanctions remain the US' primary weapon against Maduro. In Geneve the Venezuelan foreign minister took part in the session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Lavrov reiterated Russia's allegation that the United States has been preparing for a military intervention in Venezuela. This allows people from countries affected by armed conflict or natural disaster to live and work in the United States for a limited amount of time.

The Putin government has not said what if anything it would do if the United States takes military action against Maduro, something the Trump administration says is among the options on the table to oust the dictator.

Russian Federation recognizes Nicolas Maduro as Venezuela's legitimate President.

US diplomat Elliott Abrams listens during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council called to discuss the Venezuelan situation at U.N. headquarters in New York, Feb. 28, 2019.

He has promised to return to Venezuela by Monday, seen as a form of direct defiance to Maduro, who has said Guaido will eventually "face justice".

The US special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, said on Friday the US was concerned Guaido may not be able to return safely to Venezuela following his tour.

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