In phone call, Putin supports Venezuela's Maduro

Russian President Putin calls Maduro to reaffirm support for Venezuela's 'legitimate authorities'

In phone call, Putin supports Venezuela's Maduro

Throwing his support firmly behind Venezuela’s elected leader, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro in a phone talk on Thursday.

“The president of Russia expressed his support to the legitimate Venezuelan authorities in the context of the aggravation of the internal political crisis provoked from the outside,” said a Kremlin statement, referring to the U.S. and other countries calling an opposition leader the country's “interim president.”

Putin “stressed that destructive external interference grossly violates the fundamental norms of international law,” the statement added.

Putin said a solution could be found within the framework of Venezuela’s constitutional principles, it said.

Thanking Putin for his support, Maduro briefed him on the situation and what might happen next, the statement added.

Both leaders agreed to continue further cooperation.

On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim president, escalating the ongoing feud between the U.S. and Maduro.

Maduro quickly shot back, cutting off diplomatic relations with Washington and giving U.S. diplomats 72 hours to leave the country.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also sided with Maduro, saying failing to respect election results shows “a totalitarian mindset.”

Maduro was reelected last May.