The US has imposed sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil firm PDVSA after the country's president refused to step down. Russian Federation also has extensive commercial interests in Venezuela, including state oil company Rosneft's partnership with Petroleos de Venezuela SA, which was placed under US sanctions Monday. "Be on alert, Venezuela!"
Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido gestures as he attends a session of the Venezuela's National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela January 29, 2019.
National Security Adviser John Bolton said President Nicolás Maduro and his allies could "no longer loot the assets of the Venezuelan people". "We are waiting for you and the commitment you have to our constitution", Guaido said at a Sunday news conference.
The sanctions threatened to hasten PDVSA's unraveling.
Russian Federation and China, who are among the countries supporting Maduro's administration and have bankrolled his government, strongly criticized the USA sanctions on Monday. Many opposition leaders have been imprisoned in the South American nation.
Until now, President Donald Trump had held off on targeting Venezuela's vital oil sector.
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It notes that Western Canada, the third-largest supplier behind Mexico and Venezuela to the region, is "plagued by egress and policy challenges" and is not a major supplier to refineries where most of the Venezuelan barrels are processed.
PDVSA becomes a Specially Designated National, meaning USA citizens are generally prohibited from dealing with it. Inclusion on this list is a powerful tool with the potential to curb trade in Venezuelan oil far beyond US borders.
The Kremlin considers the sanctions against PDVSA as "illegal", a sign of "unfair competition" and an attempt to interfere with Venezuela's internal affairs, Peskov said on Tuesday.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told members of the U.N. Security Council Saturday to "pick a side" in Venezuela.
Mr Maduro remains in control of the country because of support from the military, despite massive protests against his Government amid an economic crisis that has caused millions to flee the country.
"Experience has proven that external interference or sanctions will only complicate the situation and will not help solve practical problems", foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular media briefing on Tuesday.