Cuba and Russia say US is preparing to intervene in Venezuela

The US is allegedly preparing to enter the country to get the contested president Nicholas Maduro to step down

People take part in a rally to commemorate the Day of the Youth and to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Urena, Venezuela February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez

Russia's UN ambassador on Thursday said Moscow is "very much concerned that some hotheads may be considering a military action against Venezuela," after Cuba warned the United States was moving special forces closer to the chaotic South American country.

Vassily Nebenzia told reporters at UN headquarters in New York that this "would be a very bad development."

Mr Nebenzia said that even countries supporting Venezuela's opposition against President Nicolas Maduro "are categorically against any military action and intervention into Venezuela."

Cuba said on Thursday the United States was in the process of carrying out a plan to intervene in the country using the pretext of a humanitarian crisis.

Picking up on this, Mr Nebenzia said humanitarian aid currently being shipped to Venezuela's borders is being used "as a tool in the political game" and called it a provocation that may "lead to something much worse than that."

US President Donald Trump’s administration has been trying to pressure Mr Maduro to step down and hand over power to Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly.

Mr Guaido, who argues that Mr Maduro’s re-election last year was a sham, invoked a constitutional provision to assume the presidency three weeks ago.

The US has slapped sweeping sanctions with a view to curb Venezuela's crude exports and put pressure on socialist President to step down.

US special envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams, asked about the Cuban statement at an event in Washington, said “it is a new lie.”