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Private military contractors from Russian Federation reportedly in Venezuela to protect Maduro

Private military contractors from Russian Federation reportedly in Venezuela to protect Maduro

Amid deadly political clashes in the crisis-torn country, the State Department also said that U.S. citizens "should strongly consider departing Venezuela".

This comes amid a mounting crisis inside and outside Venezuela over its future, with opposition leader Juan Guaido having declared himself acting president, openly rebelling against socialist President Nicolas Maduro, whose opponents allege was illegitimately elected for a second term.

"Out! Leave Venezuela. Here we have dignity, damn it", Maduro said, giving United States diplomats 72 hours to depart.

On Thursday, Maduro instructed all Venezuelan diplomats in the U.S.to return home and closed his country's embassy in Washington.

The United States and Britain said on Thursday that Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro is not legitimate, while Russian Federation and Turkey expressed their support to the legal authorities.

That followed President Donald Trump's decision to support the claim to power by opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Maduro's government accuses the US and others of launching an "economic war" against Venezuela, blaming them them for most of the country's problems.

Asked if would consider a military option, Trump said: "We're not considering anything but all options on the table".

He escalated his campaign Wednesday by declaring that the constitution gives him, as president of the congress, the authority to take over as interim president and form a transitional government until he calls new elections.

"A U.S. backed coup in Venezuela is not a solution to the dire issues they face", Omar, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter.




Maduro's presidency has coincided with a decline in Venezuela's socioeconomic status, with crime, inflation, poverty, and hunger increasing.

Nicolás Maduro is refusing to back down.

The success of the uprising will depend on whether the military and the regime's intelligence apparatus continue to support Maduro, analysts say. Some U.S. diplomats began exiting Venezuela on Friday.

Britain said Maduro's 2018 election was neither free nor fair and expressed support for Guaido.

In a video addressing the military earlier this week, Guiado said the constitution requires them to disavow Maduro after his May 2018 re-election, which was widely condemned by the global community because his main opponents were banned from running. "We commend the contributions of regional governments and all global donors, and encourage additional contributions from the worldwide community to meet growing needs in Venezuela and the region".

President Donald Trump, left, talks to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as they tour the new North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on July 11, 2018.

Meanwhile, Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Turkey have voiced their backing for Maduro's government.

Facing sanctions and global pressure, Venezuela is increasingly turning to Turkey as a partner in the Middle East.

They include Canada and a slew of right-leaning Latin American governments, including Venezuela's neighbours Brazil and Colombia.

Maduro retaliated by breaking off relations with the United States, his biggest trade partner. "It could get pretty ugly", said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a think tank on Western Hemisphere affairs in Washington.

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