Russia Vows More Support For Venezuela’s Maduro
Russia on Friday vowed to maintain support for the embattled regime of its Venezuelan “friend” President Nicolas Maduro, including with humanitarian aid supplies.
During talks with Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said President Vladimir Putin expressed “support and solidarity for his colleague and friend” Maduro in the country’s political standoff with the opposition.
“Russia will continue to assist the Venezuelan authorities in resolving social and economic problems, including through the provision of legitimate humanitarian aid,” Lavrov told a joint news conference with Rodriguez afterward.
Battered by an economic meltdown, Venezuela descended into political crisis when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president in January and asserted that Maduro was no longer legitimate.
Maduro and his allies — including Russia — have accused Washington of attempting to carry out a coup against his government.
The United States has recognised Guaido and led a diplomatic campaign in support of his leadership.
Lavrov said Russia had recently sent to Venezuela 7.5 tonnes of medical supplies and received a request for more shipments.
“We are currently considering it,” he said.
He added that Russia was also sending “mass supplies” of wheat to Venezuela, claiming those shipments helped normalise the humanitarian situation in the crisis-hit country.
He renewed warnings for the United States not to intervene militarily in Venezuela and reiterated Russia’s claims that Washington was planning to buy small arms, mortar launchers, and shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles known as MANPADS from an “Eastern European country” and station them “close to Venezuela.”
The weapons will be taken by an airline of an ex-Soviet country loyal to Washington, Lavrov claimed without providing further details.
‘Hotheads in Washington’
“Of course we see these intentions,” he said, calling on Venezuela’s neighbours Colombia and Brazil to resist any possible US intervention plans.
He expressed the hope that the fact that most countries did not want to see a military scenario “will cool hotheads in Washington even though there are some there who nothing can stop.”
Lavrov said the two countries would continue to coordinate on foreign affairs.
“We are very closely cooperating and coordinating all our steps on the international arena,” he said.
“This has acquired special significance now that Venezuela is facing a frontal attack and unabashed interference in its domestic affairs.”
Rodriguez for her part said her government would move the European offices of state-owned oil company PDVSA from Portugal to Moscow.
“President Maduro has instructed that the office of the Venezuelan oil company in Europe, which is located in Lisbon, be moved and transferred to Moscow,” she said.
She thanked Putin and “the Russian people” for all their support for “the constitutional and legitimate government.”
“We have come here with a very good programme to deepen the strategic relationship we have with our sister Russia,” she added.
“Venezuela does not need military intervention, our continent does not need military intervention, neither from the United States nor from anyone, we need peace, stability and tranquility.”