Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. (File Photo: CGTN)
MOSCOW, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the United States on Thursday for interfering in Venezuelan internal affairs by recognizing the opposition leader as the "interim president."
The immediate recognition of opposition leader Juan Guaido by the United States and some regional countries is aimed at aggravating the split in the Venezuelan society and escalating the conflict, the ministry said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Washington had recognized Guaido as the nation's "interim president," after Nicolas Maduro was inaugurated as leader of the Latin American country earlier this month.
Trump added that the United States would continue to use economic and diplomatic power to press for "the restoration of Venezuelan democracy."
"The formation of an alternative decision-making center is a direct path to chaos and the destruction of the foundations of the Venezuelan statehood," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
It accused Washington of totally disregarding the norms and principles of international law and attempting to play the role of "the self-proclaimed arbiter of the destinies" of other nations.
"We appeal to sensible Venezuelan politicians in opposition to the legitimate government of Maduro not to become pawns in someone else's chess game," the ministry said.
It said only Venezuelans have the right to determine their future and destructive external intervention is unacceptable especially in the current extremely tense situation.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday that Russia considers Maduro the legitimate head of state of Venezuela and he warned against any outside attempts to usurp the supreme power of the country.