The political unrest in Venezuela is exacerbating international relations between the US and Russia. The Russian Foreign Ministry warned the White House against military intervention in the South American country. An intervention could lead to "lawlessness and bloodshed" in Venezuela, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, according to the Reuters news agency.

Lavrov sharply condemned US behavior in the conflict. Washington disregards international law, the minister said. US President Donald Trump had pledged support to the current parliamentary president, Juan Guaidó, on Wednesday, just minutes after Guaidó's announcement that he would now govern the country as interim president.

Russia will continue to support its strategic partner Venezuela, the Interfax news agency also quotes the Russian foreign ministry. The situation in the country has reached a dangerous point. The US should not interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela.

Street battles between demonstrators and police

The EU gave its support to Guaidó. "The European Union urges for the beginning of an immediate political process leading to free and credible elections in accordance with the Constitution," said EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets against Maduro on Wednesday. They fought some fierce street battles with the police. According to human rights activists, at least 13 people have died in the riots so far.

Venezuela is in a deep political and economic crisis. The opposition is suppressed, many government opponents are in custody or have fled into exile. Due to lack of foreign exchange, the once rich country can barely import food, medicines and everyday necessities. Around three million Venezuelans have already fled the misery abroad.