Russia calls U.S. claim it told Venezuela’s Maduro not to flee part of ‘information war’

FILE PHOTO: Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks next to Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez and Remigio Ceballos Strategic Operational Commander of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, during a broadcast at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERSMOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Ministry of…


FILE PHOTO: Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks next to Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez and Remigio Ceballos Strategic Operational Commander of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, during a broadcast at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday rejected a suggestion by Washington that it had persuaded Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro not to flee in the face of street protests, calling the assertion part of an information war.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a U.S. television interview that Maduro was prepared to leave the country on Tuesday morning in the face of a call for an uprising by opposition leader Juan Guaido, but reversed his plan after Russia intervened.

When asked to comment on Pompeo’s comments, Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, told Reuters they were part of an “information war”. Moscow has previously accused the United States of trying to foment a coup in Venezuela, a close Russian ally, and of trying to demoralize the army by spreading potentially morale-sapping fake news.

Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Catherine Evans

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