Venezuelan Maduro backs Putin in Ukraine

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday voiced support for his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine crisis.

“Venezuela is with Putin, it is with Russia. “He is in favor of the brave and just cause of the world,” President Maduro told state television during a cabinet meeting following a decision by the Russian parliament to give the green light to launch a military operation in Ukraine.

Mr Maduro recalled that his predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chavez (1999-2013), had sided with Russia when Moscow recognized South Ossetia ‘s independence in 2008 during the conflict with Georgia.

“Venezuela, Chavez’s revolution has always been with Putin, with Russia, with the Russian people,” said President Maduro, adding that the United States and NATO mean “ending Russia by military means.”

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Barisov was in Caracas on Friday, stressing that Venezuela is “a strategic partner of Russia (…) in an environment of growing instability.”

Against the background of the crisis in Ukraine, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov did not rule out the possibility of Russian military development in Venezuela and Cuba.

Moscow is among the main allies of President Maduro, whose re-election in 2018 was not recognized by part of the international community, led by the United States, who are seeking to oust him from power.

Moscow and Caracas came closer under the presidency of Hugo Chavez. Venezuela, then prosperous thanks to its oil production, made large purchases of military equipment from Russia.

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