Venezuela pledges ‘powerful military cooperation’ with Russia in chilling new alliance

US politician suggests nuclear missiles 'already' in Venezuela

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Maduro was quick to back the Russian leader in the early stages of the invasion last month, pledging “strong support” for the Kremlin in a call between the two leaders. The renewed stance with Russia comes just after US diplomats and representatives from other countries met to discuss measures for stabilising the Latin American country.

The Venezuelan leader told the media in a press conference that his government had “examined the powerful military cooperation and ratified the path of powerful military cooperation between Russia and Venezuela”.

He continued this was “for the defence of peace, of sovereignty, of the defence of territorial integrity”.

Maduro added Venezuela “will increase all plans for preparation, training and cooperation with a world military power like Russia”.

Maduro remarked: “We walked together [into] the 21st century, the people, the government of Russia and Venezuela.

“We built the map of cooperation to continue walking together, united.”

Maduro, addressing the media alongside Russia’s deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, and Venezuela’s minister for oil Tareck El Aissami, emphasised the importance of economics and trade in Wednesday’s talks.

Venezuela has been struck with political and economic crises, destabilising its economy and seeing punishments from the US over Maduro’s re-election.

The US cut ties with Maduro’s government back in 2019, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine sparked speculation over whether the US’s goal of isolating Moscow from the rest of the world could see a rapprochement on the continent.

Three years ago, the US slapped Venezuela with sanctions in the hope they could oust Maduro from power.

These measures included cutting Venezuela off from US trade in crude oil.

At the time, crude oil accounted for 96 percent of Venezuela’s revenues.

But earlier this month, US delegates visited Caracas for discussions with Maduro’s government in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.

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The New York Times, citing the words of unnamed US officials, said the Biden administration had an eye on whether the Latin American allies of President Putin – namely, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela – could become “security threats” to the US.

Others suggested Washington could be open to Venezuelan oil sources as an alternative to Russian imports.

Mr Maduro described the visit from the US delegation as “respectful, cordial, very diplomatic”.

The White House said “energy security” had been high on the agenda for talks at the presidential palace in Caracas.

But on Tuesday, a statement from the US State Department said the countries and organisations of the West were intent on pressing for “free and fair” elections in Venezuela.

The EU, US, and a number of other nations are advocating for presidential elections in 2024, overseen by an independent agency.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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