USA sanctions Venezuela state-owned oil company

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In a statement issued on January 26, the European Union called for the "urgent holding of free, transparent and credible presidential elections in accordance with internationally democratic standards and the Venezuelan constitutional order". "Are you pro-imperialist or anti-imperialists?"

Maduro accused the US of attacking on Venezuela and planning a coup attempt in the country.

The US said last week it would use the "full weight" of US economic and diplomatic power to push for the restoration of Venezuela's democracy and backed Guaido when he declared himself interim president last Wednesday in a defiant speech before masses of anti-government demonstrators who took to the streets to demand Maduro's resignation.

Maduro is confronting an unprecedented challenge to his authority after Guaido on Wednesday declared himself interim president before cheering supporters in the capital, Caracas, citing a fraudulent election previous year.

Nearly simultaneously on Saturday, Paris, Berlin and Madrid announced their readiness to recognize the self-proclaimed "interim president" of Venezuela - unless the country holds snap presidential elections within eight days. "Just think logically", Peskov said, addressing reporters.

President Donald Trump and several foreign leaders quickly recognised Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate leader, prompting Maduro to cut ties with the U.S. and order its diplomats from Caracas within 72 hours.

Washington also accepted exiled opposition leader Carlos Vecchio as Venezuela's new charge d'affaires to the United States after he was tapped by Guaido. He called the Maduro regime an "illegitimate Mafia state" and criticized countries who support him, including Russia, China, Iran, and Cuba.

"I order you not to shoot", he said.

Although he professed himself "open to dialogue", he acknowledged it was unlikely.

Maduro has stood firm in the face of demonstrations against his rule this week, winning the endorsement of key military leaders and vowing to defeat what he calls a USA -backed coup against his government.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida publicly welcomed the decision, and praised the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump for taking action. Everybody can see the security guards who protect Maduro. "Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem".

Pompeo urged nations to end financial transactions with Maduro's government, which has struggled to pay bills despite the country's oil wealth.

But as the deadline expired, Maduro said he had begun negotiations to set up within 30 days an Interests Section in Caracas to maintain a minimum level of diplomatic contact, similar to the arrangement the USA had with Cuba until their 2015 rapprochement.

"We have been attacked since [former President Hugo] Chavez's death", he said, stressing things has gone worse during the Trump Administration.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro oversaw a display of the army's Russian hardware on Sunday, with anti-aircraft flak and tank rounds pounding a hillside to show military force and loyalty.

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