Venezuela blames U.S., NATO for Ukraine conflict

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A helicopter flies over a large Venezuelan flag during a military parade to celebrate the 210th anniversary of Venezuela's independence in Caracas, Venezuela, July 5, 2021. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero/File Photo

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CARACAS, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Venezuela, a close ally of Russia, blamed NATO and the United States for the crisis in Ukraine, where Russian troops were advancing on the capital a little more than a day into their invasion of the neighboring country.

Venezuela's foreign ministry said late on Thursday that NATO and the United States had violated the Minsk agreements, a 2014 deal aimed at ending a war in Donbas, a separatist region in eastern Ukraine.

Russian missiles pounded Kyiv on Friday, as families cowered in shelters and authorities told residents to prepare Molotov cocktails to defend against the Russian assault. read more

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"The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela expresses its worry over the worsening of the crisis in Ukraine, and laments the mockery and violation of the Minsk accords on the part of NATO, encouraged by the United States of America," the ministry said in a statement.

"The derailment of these (Minsk) accords has violated international law and created strong threats against the Russian Federation, its territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as impeded good relations between neighboring countries."

The South American country -- whose president, Nicolas Maduro, said before the invasion launched on Thursday that Venezuela was with Putin -- also urged a diplomatic dialogue to avoid an increase in the conflict.

Colombia, Argentina and Chile on Thursday called for swift withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, as other Latin American countries rejected the use of force but stopped short of calling for a Russian exit. read more

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Reporting by Vivian Sequera Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb

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