Maduro meets with Putin while other leaders gather at United Nations

Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro traveled to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (L) speak during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow Wednesday. Photo by Sergei Chirikov

The Maduro-Putin meeting happened as most other world leaders gathered at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. The United States and many European countries have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president since January after a disputed presidential election there.

“Russia consistently supports all the legitimate bodies of power in Venezuela, including the institution of presidency and the parliament,” Putin said in Russian state-run media. “And we, undoubtedly, support the dialogue, which you, Mr. President (Maduro), and the government are holding with the opposition forces.

“We consider any refusal to hold a dialogue as irrational and harmful for the country and as posing only threats to the population’s well-being,” Putin said.

Maduro had planned to meet with business leaders on his trip but Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no major deals were expected to be announced. He added that “implementation of joint projects” would be discussed.

The Venezuelan president has blamed his country’s political and humanitarian crisis on the United States, Canada and the European Union, citing sanctions and their support for Guaido. In July, the United Nations accused Maduro’s government of killing opposition leaders and limiting the freedoms of its citizens.

Russia promised this summer it would help develop Venezuela’s “military potential” while supplying it with petrol in June through its state-run company Rosneft. Moscow has also criticized the U.S. for interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs.

ByClyde Hughes