The Russian military has signed a deal that would allow it to send military ships to Venezuela, expressing support for the Latin American country. The U.S. has been critical of current Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, and has backed attempts to replace him, Newsweek writes.
Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino met Thursday in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, with whom he “signed an agreement on the visits of warships to the ports of both states and discussed the situation in Venezuela, as well as issues of bilateral military and military-technical cooperation.” The deal came as Caracas was in the throes of a months-long political crisis between Moscow-backed President Nicolas Maduro and Washington-backed National Assembly leader Juan Guaido.
Following President Donald Trump’s announcement last week of a near-total boycott of Maduro’s administration, Padrino told Shoigu that Venezuela was “indeed currently going through a difficult situation, due to U.S. actions,” calling it “absolutely insolent the way it violates international law.”
Shoigu, for his part, said Russian officials “are closely following the events taking place in Venezuela” and “note the unprecedented pressure of Washington aimed at destabilizing the situation in your country.” Offering his support for Maduro in “pursuing an independent foreign policy and counteracting U.S. attempts to change the legitimately-elected government,” Shoigu said he considered “external interference, especially in the present, extremely tense atmosphere, unacceptable.”
Venezuela was already suffering from a debilitating economic crisis deepened by U.S. sanctions announced by Trump back in 2017. However, the country erupted with a political rift in January as Guaido declared himself president in a move swiftly backed by Washington and its regional allies.