RNA - “We exhort the United States to return to the realm of international law, end its politics of blackmail and stop provoking tensions in Venezuela from abroad,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.
Earlier in the day, the US Treasury Department in a statement announced a list of sanctions against Arreaza as well as a senior Venezuelan judge, Carol Padilla, accused by Washington of having a role in the ongoing crisis in the Latin American country.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement that any US assets belonging directly or indirectly to the two Venezuelan officials would be blocked.
Venezuela has been in political turmoil since US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido declared himself “interim president” late in January.
The administration of US President Donald Trump, which immediately recognized Guaido’s self-proclamation, has since been mounting economic pressure on Caracas and has repeatedly threatened to use military force to topple Maduro’s government.
Washington has also confiscated Venezuela’s US-based oil assets in an attempt to channel revenue from them to Guaido.
Additionally, Washington has been encouraging other countries to impose sanctions on Maduro’s administration and ease penalties on the Venezuelan officials who recognize Guaido.
“Washington has repeatedly displayed a categorical refusal to adopt the method of negotiation to resolve the situation,” the Russian foreign ministry further said on Friday, lambasting the latest sanctions Arreaza “a brutal attempt to pressure the government of this country and the Venezuelan people.”
Washington had earlier said any American assets of Arreaza would be blocked.
The Venezuelan military has reaffirmed its support for Maduro despite the US threats.
Maduro has repeatedly accused Washington of openly pushing for a coup in the oil-rich Latin American country by confiscating its state oil assets based in the US and channeling them to Guaido.
Caracas has accused Washington of waging an economic war, which has led to hyperinflation and widespread shortages of food and medicine in Venezuela.
Russia and China — like many other countries — back the elected government of Maduro, who has called Guaido a “puppet” of Washington.
Russia, a close ally of Venezuela, vocally opposes US measures against Venezuela and accuses Washington of attempting to organize a coup there in violation of the United Nations Charter.