CARACAS – Russia’s deputy prime minister Yuri Borisov met with Venezuela’s embattled incumbent Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on Saturday as the two countries boosted their military ties in Moscow’s apparent sign of continued support for the embattled South American leader who is resisting an intense Western pressure to quit.
The meeting between Borisov and Maduro was held in the framework of the high-level intergovernmental commission (CIAN) between Caracas and Moscow, Russia’s official news agency reported.
The Venezuelan leader thanked Russia for the military cooperation between the two countries, saying his nation had a solid defense grid to resist any outside aggression.
He said that the two sides also renewed their agreements on the military-technical area during the meeting between the leaders.
“The cooperation that according to the schedule perfectly and we have renewed all contracts for support, advice, and progress in the very important military-technical aspect,” said Maduro.
He also indicated that the two countries have made progress in advancing agreements on the exploration of oil and gas.
“There are new economic ventures with technology transfer, the participation of Russian companies in all strategic (oil and gas) production areas of the country. We have advanced tremendously throughout the oil, gas, basic business area,” he said.
The two countries have also agreed to launch new projects in agricultural cooperation with Russian investment, technology, and support.
The two sides have signed 264 agreements in the sectors like energy, mining, finance, agriculture, industries, commerce, and transport.
Maduro stressed the importance of Borisov’s visit as an opportunity to consolidate the progress made during his recent trip to Moscow where he met with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in September.
The two presidents were said to have discussed Caracas’ sovereign debt of $3 billion to Moscow which has acted as a lender of last resort for the South American nation.
The Russian Ministry of Finance confirmed to the RIA Novosti agency that Venezuela was up to date on the payment of its debt and that it recently made another payment.
Maduro, who is not recognized as a legitimate president by 60 countries, including the United States, thanked Putin’s support for his regime.
He said he was facing “imperial aggression,” referring to the sanctions imposed on him by several countries.
“Venezuela has a real war economy, an economy of resistance,” he said. “We are in a very important phase... towards economic prosperity.”