Venezuela signs $6 billion investment deals with Russia
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has announced massive Russian oil and gold mining investments in his crisis-ridden country.
At the end of a three-day visit to the Russian capital Moscow, Maduro said on Friday that he has signed $5 billion US dollars’ worth of contracts related to oil production with Russia.
“Contracts have been signed to guarantee investments for $5 billion to increase oil production with Russian partners of joint ventures,” he said in a video posted on Twitter.
“We are also guaranteeing an investment of US$1 billion for mining, mostly in gold." he said.
Maduro did not provide specifics about where the investments would be made or how much money Russian companies would contribute.
The Venezuelan president, who flew to Moscow on Monday to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, has also sought to boost the country's gold output as an alternative source of hard currency amid the declining oil revenues, which make up over 90 percent of exports.
This, as the United States has sought to restrict Venezuela's gold trade through sanctions.
Venezuela Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez who also held talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on Thursday, said that Caracas is also interested in the modernization of ground-based and air-defense systems previously delivered by Russia.
"In the course of the talks between our presidents, which took place yesterday (Wednesday), many issues related to the military area were raised,” he said.
“Particularly, those on strengthening cooperation in maintenance of the equipment supplied to our country from Russia. These are land-based and air systems. We agreed on the need of upgrading these systems," Padrino Lopez added.
Caracas has already bought a wide range of weapons systems from Russia in recent years, including S-300 missile systems, Mi helicopters, Tor-M1 missile systems, Su aircraft, Buk missile systems, Igla man-portable air-defense systems and heavy multiple rocket launchers Smerch and Grad.
The country, once Latin America’s richest nation, has been battling hyperinflation.