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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused Donald Trump of ordering to kill him

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Moscow. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused Donald Trump of ordering neighbouring Colombia’s government to kill him, but said he was open to the possibility of talks with the U.S. leader and his own domestic foes.

In an interview with Russia’s RIA agency, Maduro rejected calls for an early election, said an order to arrest his rival Juan Guaido had not yet been given, and promised Caracas would honour debts to Russia and China.

Facing the biggest challenge of his six-year rule, the 56-year-old socialist leader also said his armed forces remained loyal and President Vladimir Putin was firmly behind him.

Maduro’s comments were published on Wednesday as the fight for control of Venezuela escalated with the government preparing an investigation into self-declared interim president Guaido, and new street protests planned.

Venezuela plunged further into turmoil last week after the United States recognised Guaido, 35, as acting president, while Russia, which has lent Caracas an estimated $17 billion since 2006, continued to back Maduro.

“Donald Trump has without doubt given an order to kill me and has told the government of Colombia and the Colombian mafia to kill me,” Maduro told RIA.

Though the Venezuelan was reprising an old allegation that critics scoff at as a smokescreen, there was speculation of military plans after Trump adviser John Bolton appeared on Monday with a pad showing the words “5,000 troops to Colombia.”

“If something happens to me one day, Donald Trump and Colombian President Ivan Duque will bear responsibility,” Maduro said of his right-wing foes.

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