In a stern warning, embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that US President Donald Trump risks "staining his hands with blood" if he attempts to pursue military action in his strife-torn South American country.
Maduro said that if Trump was physically in front of him, he would reply to him saying, "Stop, stop Donald Trump, stop there, you are making mistakes that you are going to stain your hands with blood and you will leave the presidency stained with blood," CNN reported, quoting Spanish channel LaSexta Sunday.
The Venezuelan President made the comments after Trump said last week that military action in the South American nation "was an option", because of the "horrible things that were happening in that country."
Calling for mutual respect, Maduro cautioned Trump "not to repeat Vietnam in Latin America." Taking a jibe at the US President, he said: "So we have to go through a war to reconsider our relationship and our respect?"
Maduro also defied calls from other countries'' for his resignation and fresh elections in the country if he did not step down.
On Monday, 16 European Union (EU) nations recognised Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim President, in a move backed by the US, after Maduro failed to fulfil their demand to announce fresh Presidential elections by Sunday.
The 16 countries are -- Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
They have joined the US in pushing for a change of regime in Venezuela, which is currently seeing an acute shortage of medicines and hyperinflation despite being an oil-rich country.
Venezuela has been under political turmoil since January 10 after Maduro was sworn-in for a second six-year term as the President, prompting protests by the country''s Opposition. Subsequently, Guaido, on January 23, proclaimed himself to be the President, despite Maduro winning the presidential elections last year.
Immediately, the US was the first to recognise Guaido as the President and also promised humanitarian aid to Venezuela. Washington has repeatedly demanded that Maduro should resign from his post.
Despite repeated calls for his resignation, Maduro has refused to step down, contending that he was legally the President of Venezuela.
Some countries like Russia and China have slammed foreign interference in Venezuela''s internal matters and supported Maduro as the President.