Putin says West 'crazy' for backing Venezuela's Guaido

Saint Petersburg (AFP) –


Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said the West was "crazy" for supporting an opposition leader in Venezuela over its president.

Putin said Juan Guaido was "likeable" but warned that the world would plunge into chaos if there were no rules.

"But if we adopt this way of coming to power -- a man walks into a square, lifts up his eyes to heaven and declares himself president before God -- would this be normal or not?" he told heads of global news agencies at an economic forum in the second city of Saint Petersburg.

"Well, then chaos will consume the world," he warned. "Let's elect a US president, a British prime minister, a French president like that. What will it be?

"I feel like asking those who support this: have you gone crazy, do you understand where this is going? Should there be rules or not?"

In January, Guaido declared himself acting president, claiming Nicolas Maduro's re-election last year was illegitimate.

More than 50 countries led by the United States lined up behind the head of the National Assembly, but Russia and China have backed Maduro.

Guaido has been leading a push to oust leftist firebrand Maduro, who has presided over a crumbling economy, but those efforts have not borne fruit so far.