Caracas: Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro assured Vladimir Putin of his ‘strong support’ to Russia in a telephone call on Tuesday, a statement from Kremlin said. In the call initiated by Caracas, the Venezuelan leader also condemned the ‘destabilizing actions of the United States and NATO’ and spoke out against a ‘Western campaign of lies and disinformation’, the statement said.
In the call with Maduro, Putin insisted the objectives of the military assault were to ‘protect the civilian population’ of the Donbass separatist region and to get Kiev to recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea, which it annexed in 2014. It also sought to ensure a ‘neutral and non-nuclear’ Ukrainian position towards Russia, said the statement. After the call, Maduro published a message on Twitter with a photograph of him and Putin, and said he also told the Russian leader Venezuela was ‘in favor of understanding and dialogue as a way to preserve peace’.
Sostuve una conversación telefónica con el presidente, Vladimir Putin, le ratifiqué la condena de Venezuela a las acciones desestabilizadoras de la #OTAN. Reiteré la firme disposición en favor del entendimiento y el diálogo, como vía para la preservación de la Paz. pic.twitter.com/nTJW5o3jL6
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) March 1, 2022
Venezuela, along with Cuba and Nicaragua- all targets of United States sanctions, are Latin American allies of Moscow. The United States and dozens of other countries do not recognize Maduro’s 2018 reelection, which they say was fraudulent. During an interview in December, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov would not rule out Moscow sending forces to Venezuela or Cuba if diplomacy failed with the United States over Ukraine. Dozens of people have been killed and nearly 680,000 have fled Ukraine since Putin ordered his troops into the country last week after failing to get guarantees that NATO will not expand its military alliance eastward.