Protest venezuela
© Reuters / Joshua Roberts
FILE PHOTO: Protest in Washington DC
Responding to the State Department "applauding" countries that sided with Washington's regime-change efforts in Venezuela, the Russian Foreign Ministry said clapping is at least harmless and keeps the trigger-happy US hands busy.

Applauding Malta's decision to deny passage to Russian planes headed for Caracas, newly minted State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus called on all countries "to follow Malta's example to stop the Kremlin's support for the dictator," namely Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Responding to Ortagus on Twitter, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the US should keep clapping, since that would keep it busy enough not to start any wars.

The State Department's understanding of "democracy" in Venezuela is to back opposition leader Juan Guaido and impose sanctions until he is installed in power. Guaido's attempts to claim the title of "interim president" since January have failed to impress the police, the military, and the bulk of Venezuelan people.

Reminding the US how its attempts to "promote democracy" around the world usually end, MFA spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Thursday that the unfortunate situation with Maltese airspace was nothing new.

"Let me remind you that we've been through this before," Zakharova said. "When we sent humanitarian aid to Syria, our planes were also denied airspace clearance. Remember what obstacles they put up before Russian flights."

The same countries seeking to prevent Russian aid to Syria were trying to effect "regime change" in Damascus by giving illegitimate support to "moderate" militants, Zakharova noted. "We all remember how [that] ended," she said.