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The Trump administration dealt its toughest blow yet to the authoritarian Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, issuing new sanctions on the nation's state-owned oil company PDVSA that effectively block his regime from exporting crude to the U.S.

"We have continued to expose the corruption of (Venezuelan President Nicolas) Maduro and his cronies and today's action ensures they can no longer loot the assets of the Venezuelan people", United States national security adviser John Bolton told reporters at a White House briefing.

Major Latin American powers including Brazil have backed Guaido but Maduro still enjoys economic and political support of Russian Federation and China.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday certified that Guaido has authority to take control of bank accounts that Venezuela's government has in the Federal Reserve Bank of NY or any other U.S. -insured banks.

If Maduro doesn't comply with this demand, the European Union said it "will take further actions, including on the issue of recognition of the country's leadership in line with article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution".

The United States, Brazil and some other countries have recognized Guaido's presidency, with U.S. President Donald Trump warning that "all options are on the table".

Guaido had said on Monday he was taking control of Venezuela's foreign assets to stop Maduro from emptying the "coffers".

The US has responded to the ongoing crisis by introducing sanctions on state-run oil company PVDSA.

Tuesday's announcement marked the first significant move by the government of president Nicolás Maduro to see off the challenge posed by Guiadó who last week declared himself Venezuela's rightful interim president.

Maduro has accused the USA of leading an open coup against him to exploit Venezuela's oil reserves, the largest in the world.

The Kremlin has now warned these sanctions on amounted to illegal and open interference in the Latin American country's domestic affairs. He praised US efforts to "support the restoration of democracy in Venezuela" but said "there are more questions than answers about the administration's strategy".

"I think, on the one hand, we've been able to cut off Venezuela oil going forward, but we're managing this with the USA refineries", he said.

"The relevant country's sanctions on Venezuela will lead to the deterioration of conditions of people's lives", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing in Beijing, referring to the United States.

He also moved to set up new boards of directors for Citgo and PDVSA, which could allow his parallel government to collect money held in escrow accounts in the United States.


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