Venezuela a Key Russian Ally in Latin America – Borisov

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro shakes hands with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov at the Miraflores Palace during his visit in Caracas, Venezuela February 16, 2022. REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria
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CARACAS, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Venezuela is a key ally for Russia in Latin America, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said while visiting the South American country on Wednesday, adding that the two countries will look to deepen bilateral ties.

Borisov’s visit to Venezuela’s capital Caracas follows visits by senior Latin American leaders – including Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez and Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro – to Moscow, where they met Russian President Vladimir Putin, leading analysts to suggest Russia is courting the region amid tensions in Ukraine.

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said he met Borisov and two discussed the powerful” military cooperation between the two countries.

“We are going to increase all training and cooperation plans,” Maduro said in a broadcast on state television, adding that Venezuela supported Moscow in dispelling threats from NATO.

Following a meeting with Venezuelan Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami earlier on Wednesday, the senior Russian leader described Venezuela as a major partner in the region.

“Venezuela is a strategic partner for Russia in Latin America. We highly value the character of allies in our coordination in the international arena and the dialogue of trust at the political level,” Borisov said.

Borisov will travel to Nicaragua and Cuba after leaving Caracas, according to Venezuela’s state television.

Russian military support of Venezuela has sparked concern in neighbor and key U.S. ally Colombia.

Earlier this month, Colombia’s Defense Minister Diego Molano warned that Russia and Iran were providing Venezuela – which Colombia accuses of harboring FARC dissidents and National Liberation Army guerrillas – with military assistance.

Following a meeting with Russia’s ambassador to Colombia, Nikolay Tavdumadze, last week, Colombian Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucia Ramirez said Russia had promised such assistance would never be used to attack Colombia.

Reporting by Vivian Sequera Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan
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