- "We arrived in the Russian homeland to strengthen our historical and very positive relations of exchange and respect among our peoples," Maduro tweeted.
- "At the beginning of the conversation, I would like to note that our relations are developing steadily," Putin said.
- Venezuela is the largest operator of Russian weapons and military equipment in the Latin American region.
Nicolas Maduro, whose powers as President of Venezuela are not recognized by many countries, including the United States, met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Maduro flew to Moscow yesterday.
“We arrived in the Russian homeland to strengthen our historical and very positive relations of exchange and respect among our peoples. The brotherhood we have built over the years is a fundamental axis for the construction of Venezuela’s prosperous future,” he wrote on Twitter, without specifying why he calls Russia his homeland. The media reported before that, a Russian Il-62M aircraft was in Caracas.
The meeting, which was held in the Kremlin behind closed doors, was attended by Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov (responsible for the defense), and the head of Rosneft, Igor Sechin (the company which gave billions of dollars of loans to Venezuela).
“At the beginning of the conversation, I would like to note that our relations are developing steadily. First of all, I would like to say a few words about economic aspects. Bilateral trade has grown 10 percent in recent months. It is satisfying to note that to a large extent, the growth is due to mutual supplies, including agricultural produce,” Putin said.
Before this, Putin and Maduro met on December 5, 2018, when Maduro also came to Moscow. Since then, much has changed. At the beginning of this year, after the re-election of Maduro for a second term, Juan Guaido declared himself interim president. He was recognized by many countries, including the United States. Maduro managed to stay in power.
After the talks, Putin and Maduro limited themselves to short comments, from which it is difficult to understand why Maduro flew to Moscow. “We support our cooperation in all areas. Members of the Venezuelan-Russian high-level commission met this past May, and many matters discussed at its meeting were successfully resolved. This includes a number of areas, such as food supplies, healthcare, energy and many others,” Putin said.
Venezuela is the largest operator of Russian weapons and military equipment in the Latin American region, Anatoly Pinchuk, deputy director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, told Interfax in December 2017. It was reported that the amount of contracts is estimated at $11 billion.
Venezuela, in particular, acquired medium-range mobile air defense systems: Buk-M2 air defense systems and long-range Antey-2500 air defense systems (Almaz-Antey Concern East Kazakhstan Joint-Stock Company), Su-30MK2 fighters, Mi-35M helicopters, tanks T-72, BMP-3 and BTR-80, as well as 100 thousand Kalashnikov assault rifles of the new AK-103 modification.
Why such a visit?
Maduro’s visit to Putin, after which no significant decisions were announced, was needed to show Venezuelan people the support of Moscow, said Fedor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief Russia in Global Affairs journal.