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"Since August 2017, Canada has been working closely as a member of the Lima group, which is comprised of over a dozen Latin American countries and the Caribbean, to address the Venezuelan crisis", Freeland said.

The sanctions were announced to ratchet up pressure against Maduro and demonstrate U.S. support for Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader who proclaimed himself interim president last week and was immediately recognised by the United States and a host of other countries.

The vast majority of Venezuelans oppose military intervention and United States sanctions to try to remove President Nicolás Maduro from power.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is pressing forward with efforts to form a transitional government by naming a new slate of diplomats. "There was no election in 2018".

Guaido, who argues that Maduro usurped the presidency on taking office for a second six-year term on January 10 following a May 2018 election considered fraudulent by the opposition, has said he is prepared to receive $20 million in humanitarian aid pledged by the United States.

The US has imposed sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil firm PDVSA after the country's president refused to step down. The economic sanctions were aimed at increasing pressure on Maduro to cede power to the opposition.

Russian Federation has derided the move as an attempt by the USA to exact regime change on Venezuela, in an emergency UN Security Council meeting.

National Security Advisor John Bolton has threatened the government in Caracas that he denounced as "illegitimate" not to lay a finger on Juan Guaido, the opposition figure Washington considers to be Venezuela's president.

In this photo released to the media by Miraflores presidential palace press office, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, center, jogs alongside his Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, right, and soldiers as he visits Ft.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the U.N. Security Council at the U.N Headquarters, Jan. 26, 2019.

At the briefing, Bolton reiterated, "The president has made it clear that all options are on the table", in regard to Venezuela.

In separate but nearly simultaneous comments, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman declined to comment when asked whether Russian Federation would send military aid if the US military gets involved in the crisis in Venezuela.

The disputed president Nicolás Maduro is still clinging on to power and has broken diplomatic ties with the US government.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sanctions completely undermined confidence in an global financial system that is dominated by the U.S.

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.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin shares the view of the Venezuelan government that the sanctions are "illegal" and sees them as a tool of unfair competition on part of the United States.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said historical experience showed foreign interference "only makes situations more complicated".