Since 2013, Nicolas Maduro has presided over severe economic crisis, worsened by US sanctions, that has seen seven million people flee the country as GDP plummeted by 80 percent in a decade
The expected visit is a sign of continued close ties between the two major-oil producing nations which are both at odds with the U.S.

NEW YORK CITY - A visit to Russia by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is in the works, The Kremlin confirmed on Tuesday. The expected trip is a sign of continued close ties between the two major-oil producing nations which are both at odds with the United States, Reuters reports.

In a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the visit was at "a high degree of preparation," and that all that remained was to agree to a date.

This isn't the first time talks of the Venezuelan president visiting Russia emerged. In late 2023, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that Russia expected to welcome Maduro on a visit as part of the expanding Russia-Venezuela ties, including in the energy sector.

"We expect the president of Venezuela to visit Russia per the invitation extended to him," Novak, Russia's top oil official, said in October.

In February, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Caracas, reaffirming his country's support for Maduro, and expressing commitment to strategic cooperation in numerous sectors, including technology, energy and culture, AP News reported.

That visit was the second by Lavrov in less than a year, and it came after a stop at Cuba, in a three-country tour of Latin America.

Such open Venezuela and Russian relations come amid increased tensions from both countries with the United States.

From the Venezuelan side, the U.S. faces a mid-April deadline to decide whether to extend a temporary suspension of sanctions it granted to the South American country last fall. The Biden administration is considering ways to impose new limits on oil sales by the Maduro government without increasing the number of Venezuelan migrants, raising U.S. gas prices or angering other Latin American governments, the Washington Post reported.

Similarly, a treaty in Barbados, signed by the Maduro government and the Venezuelan opposition Plataforma Unitaria Democrática in 2023 aimed at promising free and fair elections in the country in 2023. Since then, the government has prohibited opposition favorite Maria Corina Machado from running for office, leaving them scrambling to find a replacement.

Since the start of the war with Ukraine, the Venezuelan government has supported Russia's decisions, blaming the U.S. and NATO for "destabilizing actions."

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