EU urges Venezuela to allow passage of humanitarian aid amid deadly clashes

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BRUSSELS. KAZINFORM The European Union on Sunday denounced attempts to prevent the delivery of humanitarian aid to crisis-gripped Venezuela and called for the Latin American country's security forces to refrain from the use of force following deadly clashes at the borders with Brazil and Colombia, EFE reports.

The EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini, said in a statement that tensions were escalating in the nation as a result of the regime's refusal "to recognize the humanitarian emergency."

"We strongly call on law enforcement and security bodies to show restraint, avoid use of force and allow for the entry of aid," Mogherini's statement said.

She warned that an increasing number of Venezuelan citizens were being impacted by worsening living conditions due to the "multidimensional crisis" affecting the country.

She said reports of "unrest, acts of violence and a growing number of victims, in particular in the border areas" were "worrying."

"We repudiate the use of irregular armed groups to intimidate civilians and lawmakers who have mobilized to distribute assistance," the EU statement said.

Venezuela has been steeped in a political crisis after opposition leader and president of the National Assembly Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president of the country at the beginning of 2019.

Guaido cited articles 233, 333 and 350 of the 1999 Constitution as justification for his move and claimed that President Nicolás Maduro had "usurped" his position by being sworn in as president following what he described as an illegitimate election.

The United States, Brazil, Canada and other Latin American countries, including Argentina, Colombia and Chile, have backed Guaido.

Venezuela, an oil-rich country, has been hammered by lower global oil prices and economic sanctions imposed by the US.

It has been in recession for nearly all of Maduro's time in office, who took over after predecessor Hugo Chavez's death in 2013.

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