US and Russian foreign ministers meet to discuss deteriorating crisis in Venezuela

US and Russian foreign ministers meet to discuss deteriorating crisis in Venezuela

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are expected to meet today in the northern

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Photo: Reuters

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are expected to meet today in the northern Finnish city of Rovaniemi to discuss the growing unrest in Venezuela.

The United States has been vocal in its opposition to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The Trump administration backed Juan Guaido and anti-regime protestors in their efforts to remove Mr Maduro this week. US officials have maintained that military action remains an option on the table.

Russia supports Mr Maduro, largely due to a political, military and economic alliance that was cemented between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Russia has since provided Venezuela with military assistance, such as an air defence system, and has helped the country circumvent sanctions on their oil industry.

Russia is more likely to double down rather than back off from its support of the Maduro regime. Mr Guaido’s failure to spark regime change this week has likely reinforced the Kremlin’s determination to back Maduro. Likewise, Moscow will draw confidence from recent US indecision over its Venezuela policy—the costs of entering a potentially bloody and costly conflict have been noted by none other than the US president himself.

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