FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stands next to his airplane before boarding it to Beirut at Ben Gurion airport near Lod, Israel March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Young/Pool
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Russia to “cease its unconstructive behavior” by supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a phone call with his Russian counterpart, the State Department said on Monday.
Spokesman Robert Palladino said Pompeo had spoken to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about Venezuela on Monday.
“The secretary told Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov that the United States and regional countries will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela,” Palladino said in a statement that also condemned Russian military support for the “illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro.”
Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama