Russia withdrew key military advisers and financial support from Venezuela over the weekend; ending a major lifeline that enabled socialist President Nicolas Maduro to cling to power in recent months despite crippling US sanctions.
“Russian state defense contractor Rostec, which has trained Venezuelan troops and advised on securing arms contracts, has cut its staff in Venezuela to just a few dozen, from about 1,000 at the height of cooperation between Moscow and Caracas several years ago,” reports Fox News.
“The gradual pullout, which has escalated over the last several months, according to people familiar with the situation, is due to a lack of new contracts and the acceptance that Mr. Maduro’s regime no longer has the cash to continue to pay for other Rostec services associated with past contracts,” adds the article.
Maduro survived an attempted overthrow of his regime just months ago, with opposition leader Juan Guaido admitting the uprising failed because of the military’s reluctance to join his movement.
Guaido -recognized as Venezuela’s interim President by more than 50 countries- blamed the “failure” on senior military officials’ decision to support Maduro’s regime as tens of thousands protested across Caracas.
“There have been discussions… with civil and military officials who are ready to take the side of our constitution,” he added. “I’m very optimistic given that we are very close to achieving change in Venezuela.”
Maduro publicly blamed the uprising on the United States, saying the so-called “coup” was directed from the “Gringo Empire” based in Washington, DC.
“Russia has been among Maduro’s biggest international supporters, but the winding down of Rostec’s presence shows the limits of Russia’s reach in the South American country at a time when Moscow is facing economic difficulties—in part due to the impact of U.S. sanctions—at home. Venezuela has been one of Moscow’s largest customers in South America,” adds Fox.
Read the full report at Fox News.