Brazilian and Russian foreign minsters remain divided over Venezuela crisis

Brazilian and Russian foreign minsters remain divided over Venezuela crisis

Today, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov will meet with his Brazilian counterpart to discuss the Venezuelan crisis. Russia has

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Photo: Reuters

Today, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov will meet with his Brazilian counterpart to discuss the Venezuelan crisis.

Russia has been a long-time supporter of the Venezuelan leadership, including Hugo Chavez and his successor, current President Nicolas Maduro. Moscow has vested interests in Venezuela, including oil projects and weapons deals. Notably, Russian state-owned oil firm Rosneft has partnered with Venezuela, investing in five drilling projects and lending some $7 billion. Venezuela’s geographic position in the Western Hemisphere—close to the US—also augments the relationship’s importance for Moscow.

With Venezuela under intense international pressure, Russia is one of the few countries to back Mr Maduro. Russia has had aid accepted by Mr Maduro, unlike the US or Lima Group, while offering political and economic support for the regime. Importantly, Russia will likely continue purchasing Venezuelan oil, providing Mr Maduro with much-needed cash flow. Moscow will also veto any UN condemnation of the regime.

Today’s meeting between foreign ministers will likely be contentious, given Brazil’s vocal calls for Russia to abandon Mr Maduro. However, Moscow has little incentive to deviate from its current position in the short-term, as Mr Maduro seeks to protect Russian investments. Any pressure from Brazil today will not affect Russia’s stance, especially with other powerful developing countries, like China, backing the current president.

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