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Kremlin says Venezuela’s Maduro to visit Russia ‘soon’

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Agence France-Presse

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will visit Russia “soon”, the Kremlin said Friday, in an apparent attempt by the embattled leader to shore up support.

“Indeed, the visit is being planned,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“And it will take place fairly soon,” he added, declining to provide precise dates.

Interfax news agency, quoting sources, said Maduro’s visit was planned for early October.

On October 2-5, Moscow hosts an annual energy forum but it was not immediately clear if Maduro would attend.

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.

Washington, which has imposed an oil embargo on Caracas to undermine Maduro’s regime, 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.

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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