Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro oversaw a display of the army's Russian hardware on Sunday, with anti-aircraft flak and tank rounds pounding a hillside to show military force and loyalty in the face of an global ultimatum for new elections.
Maduro has stood firm in the face of this week's demonstrations against his rule, winning the endorsement of key military leaders and vowing to defeat what he calls a US -backed coup against his government.
The telegenic Guaido declared himself Venezuela's temporary president on Wednesday at a rally that drew hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans.
People in Spain protest against Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro and in support of an opposition leader self-proclaimed as the interim president of the country.
In his comments Sunday in Panama, Francis "asked the Lord to seek and find a just and peaceful solution to overcome the crisis, that respects human rights and exclusively seeks the good of all people".
Britain, Germany, France and Spain all said they would recognize Guaido if Maduro failed to call new elections within eight days, an ultimatum Russian Federation said was "absurd" and the Venezuelan foreign minister called "childlike".
When Guaido proclaimed himself acting interim president US President Donald Trump quickly recognized him.
"Venezuela does not pose any threat to peace and security". President Vladimir Putin called Maduro to express his "support".
Soldiers are seen at a military headquarter as opposition supporters (not pictured) give out copies of amnesty measures to anyone in the military who disavows President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Jan. 27, 2019.
At the same time, supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaido handed out leaflets to soldiers, urging them to reject the socialist leader and explaining how they could be eligible for amnesty if they help return Venezuela to democracy.
For his part, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will on urge UN Security Council members at a Saturday meeting to recognise Guaido as interim president, the State Department said.
Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza dismissed the deadline.
But Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Venezuela doesn't threaten worldwide peace and security and accused "extremist opponents" of Maduro's legitimate government of choosing "maximum confrontation", including the artificial creation of a parallel government.
Axios added, citing senior officials from Trump's administration, that there were no signs that Washington really planned to invade Venezuela, since Trump only wanted to accelerate regime change in the Latin American country for economic and diplomatic reasons.
Guaido took a symbolic oath of office Wednesday proclaiming himself the nation's constitutional leader on grounds that Maduro's re-election past year was fraudulent - an allegation supported by the US, the European Union and many other nations.
"Mr. Pompeo is a spokesman for the country that threatens us".
The withdrawal order, which had a Saturday night deadline, has been shelved for 30 days to allow talks over setting up a "US interests office".
Meanwhile, Venezuela defused a diplomatic conflict with the United States, suspending a demand that USA diplomats leave the country within 72 hours.
A source familiar with the Trump administration's thinking on Venezuela told Fox News that the White House is encouraged by the fact that Venezuela's Defense Attache in Washington has publicly turned against Maduro and thrown his support behind opposition leader Guaido.