Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro discussed increasing military cooperation with Russia in the wake of President Donald Trump’s threats to use force against the South American nation for rolling back its democratic institutions. The meeting took place during an energy forum in Moscow on October 4.
“Thank you for your support, both political and diplomatic, in a rough patch we are going through,” President Maduro said at the start of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Venezuelan leader thanked the Russian government and spoke about the mutual respect between the late President Hugo Chávez and Russia’s Putin, adding that the cooperation between the two countries has made the Venezuelan military “three times stronger over the past 15 years.”
Maduro then expressed his confidence in receiving continued military support from Russia. “I am sure, even if we do not ask, we will be given even more support to boost Venezuela’s defense capacity and sovereignty,” he asserted.
The strengthening of ties between the two countries comes as tensions between the United States and Venezuela have increased to an all-time high after Maduro dismissed his Congress and cracked down on protesters who opposed the socialist regime.
In addition to imposing sanctions and prohibiting new debt dealings with Venezuela, President Trump said in August that he is willing to use the U.S. military to intervene in Venezuela’s deepening unrest, which has left more than 120 dead this year.
Putin assured Maduro that Russia would continue its economic cooperation with Venezuela, including on major projects.
“We see that Venezuela is going through difficult times,” Putin told Maduro. “For our part, work continues, including in the economic sphere,” he added.
At the conclusion of the meeting, President Maduro lauded the Russian leader: “Putin is the leader of the emerging world, the world we want to live in. Putin carries the banner of decorum, dignity, and peace.”