Moscow on Monday slammed new US sanctions on Venezuela, saying they were aimed at damaging the Latin American nation's economy and aggravating tensions.

‘The announced sectoral sanctions against Venezuela's financial and oil sector are quite obviously aimed at aggravating the out-of-balance situation in the country and aggravating the economic problems,’ foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

‘It's obvious that the very logic of sanctions implies the prospect of fuelling tensions.’

On Friday, the White House unveiled tough new financial sanctions against Caracas, which it said were aimed at stemming vital funding to the ‘dictatorship’ of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Zakharova complained that the sanctions were ‘steeped in cynicism’ and came at a moment of ‘relative stabilisation in domestic politics’ in Venezuela.

She said the measures ‘whip up those intransigents who cannot see a way to realise their political opportunities without removing the Venezuelan leadership from power’.

Zakharova said Russia had warned of the dangers of putting the leadership at risk.

‘Provoking and encouraging from outside the destabilisation of the domestic political situation cannot be to the benefit of ordinary Venezuelans,’ she said.

Maduro said last week that ‘Venezuela has the full and absolute support of Russia’ and that he would soon go to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin.

Zakharova said Russia would analyse the impact of the sanctions on Russia's interests and businesses in Venezuela.

She vowed, however, that sanctions ‘cannot influence our readiness to develop and strengthen our cooperation with friendly Venezuela and her people.’

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