February 27, 2019 / 2:14 PM / 6 months ago

Venezuelan vice president to fly into Moscow for talks on Friday: RIA

FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's Vice President Delcy Rodriguez talks to the media during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez will hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Friday, the RIA news agency reported, the latest in a flurry of visits by Venezuelan politicians to staunch ally Russia.

Rodriguez will talk to Lavrov about cooperating with Russia to prevent military action against Venezuela, RIA news agency said, citing the head of Venezuela’s foreign ministry Jorge Arreaza.

“Our cooperation and the situation in Venezuela will be discussed, as well as coordination of actions to prevent any kind of war against Venezuela,” Arreaza was cited as saying.

Moscow has backed socialist President Nicolas Maduro in the face of a challenge from opposition leader Juan Guaido who declared himself interim president in January, a move backed by most Western nations.

The prospect of Maduro being ousted is a geopolitical and economic headache for Moscow and Russia has accused the United States of trying to engineer an illegal coup to topple him.

Russia, alongside China, has become a creditor of last resort for Caracas, lending it billions of dollars as its economy implodes. Moscow has also helped its military and oil industry and provided wheat.

Venezuela’s deputy foreign minister, Ivan Gil, and the country’s industry minister, Tareck El Aissami, were in Moscow last week for talks with senior officials.

Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Andrew Osborn, William Maclean

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