Russian foreign minister flies to Venezuela for high-level talks with embattled government

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrives in Caracas today to celebrate 75 years of diplomatic ties between Russia and Venezuela.

lavrov maduro

Photo: AFP/Cancillera

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrives in Caracas today to celebrate 75 years of diplomatic ties between Russia and Venezuela.

Lavrov and embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will discuss measures to offset US and international sanctions and bolster cooperation in the defence and energy sectors. Venezuela already purchases military aircraft and missile systems from Russia. Russian energy giant Rosneft has invested $1.1 billion in Venezuelan oil infrastructure and channels 66% of Venezuela’s petroleum exports.

In recent years, ties between Moscow and Caracas have strengthened as Maduro’s government has faced a deteriorating economy and increased international pressure. Russian President Vladimir Putin sees aiding Venezuela as an opportunity to undermine US hegemony in the Western Hemisphere as well as a means to offset what he considers to be Western meddling in Eastern Europe.

Looking to the future, Russia’s involvement with the Bolivarian Republic depends on the persistence of Maduro’s government. It is unlikely that Russia would go so far as to interfere militarily, as in Syria, if Maduro’s regime loses control. Nonetheless, Lavrov’s visit will raise tensions with the US. Expect another round of American sanctions targeting Russian energy companies and individuals doing business in Venezuela.

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