BEST OF THE WEB: Russian envoy to UN accuses US of causing Venezuela’s dire economic situation

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Russia’s ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia has accused the US of causing “billions of dollars” of damage to Venezuela ​since 2013 and said Washington “artificially provoked” a crisis to overthrow the legitimate government. Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on Venezuela on Wednesday, Nebenzia said the Trump administration was “picking the pockets” of the country while at the same time calling “for urgent assistance to the Venezuelan people.” The comments come as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suspended Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s access to nearly €400 million ($451mn) in cash, citing the chaos which has unfolded since opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself rightful president in January. It is not clear whether the IMF will formally recognize Guaido, but an economic advisor for the opposition leader told Bloomberg that the IMF was safeguarding the funds and they would be available again when Maduro’s “usurpation” ends.

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