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Ties with Russia not affected by US sanctions: Maduro


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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said that US sanctions on the state-controlled oil company PDVSA do not threaten the close ties his country shares with Russia.
"There are no (risks) because Russia is an independent and sovereign state. Russian enterprises are very powerful and they possess own engineering staff, finance, logistics. PDVSA is an enterprise of the sovereign state," Maduro told Sputnik.
"(Russia and Venezuela) are two sovereign states that do business, invest and implement huge oil production projects. Everything will be fine, it is protected by armour - business between Russia and Venezuela in oil and gas sector," he outlined.
On Monday, Washington announced a package of sanctions targeting Venezuela's state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), claiming that it would prevent "further diversion" of assets by "former president Maduro."
The fresh restrictions will freeze $7 billion in assets and cause more than $11 billion in lost export revenues throughout the next year
Russia is heavily involved in Venezuela's energy industry. Russian energy firm Rosneft holds a large stake in a subsidiary of PDVSA.
The US has called on all "responsible nations" to recognise self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaido as the country's legitimate head of state.
US Vice President Mike Pence also plans to meet with Guaido's envoy to the United States soon.
Maduro has called Guaido a US puppet and accused Washington of attempting to organize a coup in Venezuela
The US has certified Guaido's authority to receive and control "certain" assets, held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or any other U.S. insured banks, which are owned by the Government of Venezuela on Tuesday. US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo mentioned that the certification would help Guaido in safeguarding those assets "for the benefit of the Venezuelan people".
Massive protests against Maduro, called by the National Assembly, have jolted Venezuela in the recent past. National Assembly President Guaido, on January 23, dismissed Maduro's status as President and proclaimed himself to be the leader of the nation - a move that was immediately supported by the United States.
The US support of Guaido's legitimacy has led to the deterioration of ties between the USA and Venezuela. All Venezuelan diplomats in the USA have returned home, according to Maduro, after he called for the severing of diplomatic relations with the nation.
Russia, on the other hand, has shown its support for Maduro's regime, slamming the United States for its interference in the sovereign affairs of Venezuela on various platforms, including the UN Security Council.

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First Published: Jan 30 2019 | 10:01 AM IST

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