By Peter Spinella (dpa)
HAVANA TIMES – US sanctions against Venezuela are exacerbating the South American country’s crisis and undermining the international financial system, Russia’s top diplomat said on Tuesday.
The sanctions “further exacerbate the crisis in Venezuelan society” and “undermine the last remaining confidence in the international monetary and financial system based on the primacy of the dollar,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.
Russia, whose state oil major Rosneft works closely with its Venezuelan counterpart, PDVSA, has for years struggled with US and other Western sanctions imposed over Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis.
The US imposed sanctions against PDVSA this week as it seeks the ouster of already sanctioned Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whom the US has accused of being a dictator.
“US companies working in Venezuela are excluded from the sanctions” because the US wants to “change the regime and still receive a profit,” Lavrov said.
US individuals are “generally prohibited” from engaging in transactions with PDVSA, the US Treasury said in a statement.
Russia expects Venezuela to have trouble servicing more than 3 billion dollars of debt to the Russian state, the Russian Finance Ministry said. No word was mentioned if Russia would be willing to postpone or forgive the Venezuelan debt.
“Probably there will be problems,” Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak said in comments carried by state news agency TASS.
Venezuela is supposed to make its next payment of about 100 million dollars to Russia in late March. The following payment is due in September, Storchak said.