Lavrov, Pompeo meet in Finland

MOSCOW (AA): Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks Monday with his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo in Finland.

They met on the sidelines of the 11th ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council and discussed “topics concerning strategic stability”, Lavrov said later at a press conference.

Lavrov called the meeting “constructive” and said the two diplomats examined “a range of questions that are on the regional, UN and international agenda”.

“I think we made a very good step forward in the development of the discussions that took place between President [Vladimir] Putin and President [Donald] Trump” over the phone a couple of days ago, he said.

Asked what Russia would do if the U.S. intervened military in Venezuela, Lavrov said he hoped there would be no military option, as it would be “catastrophic” and U.S. diplomats understand that.

Venezuela has been rocked by protests since January when President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.

Tensions escalated when Juan Guaido, who heads Venezuela’s National Assembly, declared himself acting president days later, a move supported by the U.S. and many European and Latin American countries.

Russia, Turkey, China, Iran, Bolivia and Mexico have thrown their weight behind Maduro.