JRL NEWSWATCH: “In a Blow to Maduro, Russia Withdraws Key Defense Support to Venezuela” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove,Alan Cullison, Maolis Castro

Venezuela Map, adapted from image at cia.gov

Russia has been one of Maduro’s major supporters in its standoff with the U.S.

“Russia has withdrawn key defense advisers from Venezuela, an embarrassment for … Maduro as Moscow weighs the leader’s political and economic resilience against … U.S. pressure. Russian state defense contractor Rostec … trained Venezuelan troops and advised on … arms contracts, [but reportedly now] has cut its staff in Venezuela to just a few dozen, from about 1,000 [in the past] …. The gradual pullout … escalated over the last several months … is due to a lack of new contracts and … Maduro’s regime no longer ha[ving] the cash …. Russia has been among Mr. 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 …”

Maduro has tried to highlight Russian and Chinese support to signify that he is not internationally isolated in his standoff against the Americans.  And potential Russian military support has been key to Maduro’s promise to repel any foreign invasion.

The Wall Street Journal cited an estimate from Mark Galleotti of the Royal United Services Institute that, at this point, there might be roughly 300 Russian officers in Venezuela, connected with the Russian military or corporate security companies.

Venezuela had been one of Russia’s biggest customers in South America. Meanwhile, globally, U.S. sanctions, or the threat of sanctions, against potential Russian arms purchasers from diverse quarters, already have otherwise impacted Rostec’s financial position.

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft BannerIn the oil sector, Russia is entangled by Venezuela being Russian state-owned Rosneft’s biggest foreign investment target.  The Wall Street Journal indicates no easy path for Rosneft to divest. A lion’s share of Rosneft’s involvement apparently includes prepayment for Venezuelan oil, as well as joint-venture costs with Venezuela’s state-owned oil company.

Click here for: “In a Blow to Maduro, Russia Withdraws Key Defense Support to Venezuela; Russia has been one of Maduro’s major supporters in its standoff with the U.S.” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove,Alan Cullison, Maolis Castro

Venezuela Map, adapted from image at cia.gov