Venezuela’s Maduro to meet Putin in Moscow

Moscow: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will meet Vladimir Putin in Moscow for talks on Wednesday, the Kremlin said, as the embattled South American leader seeks to shore up support from allies.

“All aspects of bilateral cooperation will be discussed,” the Russian President’s press spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Tuesday.

The focus of the talks would be on “direct meddling in Latin American affairs by third parties”.

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Washington has imposed an oil embargo on Caracas to undermine Maduro’s regime and has repeatedly called on Moscow to withdraw support for the Venezuelan leader.

Russia has rejected the request, accusing the US of wanting to lead a coup in defiance of international law.

The Venezuelan leader last visited Moscow for talks with Putin in December.

Hit by low oil prices, mismanagement and the impact of US sanctions, Venezuela is in freefall and Maduro is seeking support from allies after winning a second term in a controversial vote last year.

Most of the international community did not recognise the results of those polls.

Washington has thrown its weight behind a campaign to oust the socialist president and supported self-declared interim leader Juan Guaido.

A handful of countries led by Russia and China have staunchly defended Maduro.

Russia and Venezuela enjoy a long history of ties and Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez, known for his passionate tirades against the United States, was a welcome guest at the Kremlin.

Russia is the second largest lender to Caracas after China, with Moscow heavily investing in Venezuela’s oil resources and Caracas acquiring Russian arms worth billions of dollars.

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