The Kremlin says that moves by some major European countries to recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president amounts to foreign meddling and that Venezuelans, not foreign forces, should resolve their own domestic political issues.
Guaido, who leads the opposition-controlled National Assembly, declared himself temporary leader last month in a move that has split global powers.
Austria, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden recognized Guaido as interim president on February 4, with Paris saying he had the right to organize an election given the socialist government of embattled President Nicolas Maduro's refusal to do so.
The coordinated move from major European nations came after the expiry of an eight-day deadline they set last month for Maduro to call a new vote.
"Attempts to legitimize usurped power" constituted "interference in Venezuela's internal affairs," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on February 4.
"Any resolution of Venezuela's internal political crisis is possible only [if it is conducted] by Venezuelans themselves," Peskov said.
Guaido and his supporters reject the argument that letting Venezuelans resolve the country's political issues means leaving Maduro in power, saying that his May 2018 reelection was illegitimate because his strongest opponents were barred from running.
Critics also say Maduro has run the oil-rich nation like a dictatorship, wrecking its economy.
Maduro has accused European countries of sycophantically following the example of U.S. President Donald Trump, who quickly recognized Guaido as interim president.