May 1, 2019 / 10:22 AM / 19 days ago

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

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova listens during the annual news conference of the Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) in Moscow, Russia January 16, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Files

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 demoralise the army by spreading potentially morale-sapping fake news.

Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Catherine Evans

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