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Biden warns of “world war” whilst Truss says Rostov and Voronezh are not Russian

Biden warns of “world war” whilst Truss says Rostov and Voronezh are not Russian

President Joe Biden called for American citizens in Ukraine to leave the country as soon as possible after revealing the potential for a “world war” and warning that “things could go crazy quickly” between the US and Russia. Biden’s bombastic rhetoric was preceded by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meeting with British Secretary of State Liz Truss, where she embarrassed herself by failing to grasp the basic geography of the region. The Anglo escalation is part of their effort to derail dialogue between Moscow and the two European Union powerhouses of France and Germany to overcome the Ukraine crisis.

“American citizens should leave now,” Biden said in an interview with NBC News on February 10. “It’s not like we’re dealing with a terrorist organization. We’re dealing with one of the largest armies in the world. It’s a very different situation, and things could go crazy quickly.”

When asked what could prompt his order to send troops to Ukraine, Biden said: “There’s not. That’s a world war when Americans and Russia start shooting at one another. We’re in a very different world than we’ve ever been.” The American president also sent a message to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, saying that if he “is foolish enough to come in, he’s smart enough to actually do nothing that could negatively impact American citizens.”

Tensions between Washington and Moscow are at their highest point since the Cold War, especially as the West manufactures an “impending Russian invasion of Ukraine” narrative. This manufactured crisis is being used as a pretext to send more NATO military equipment to Russia’s borders as the Kiev government seeks to conquer the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine instead of finding a peaceful solution.

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Biden Presses Reluctant German Chancellor On Halting Nord Stream 2, Imposing Russia Sanctions

Biden Presses Reluctant German Chancellor On Halting Nord Stream 2, Imposing Russia Sanctions

Macron was in Moscow in talks with Putin, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was in Washington meeting with Biden on Monday. Despite Germany lately coming under heavy criticism from the more hawkish corners of the NATO alliance for its less than muscular response to the Ukraine crisis, Biden told reporters while welcoming Scholz that they are “in lockstep” on “confronting Russian aggression” at Ukraine’s border.

Going into the meeting, admin officials said the two leaders would spend time talking about a “robust sanctions package” aimed at Moscow in the event of a military offensive. However, Scholz has not indicated willingness to go along with any level of punitive economic measures, given also Germany’s close trade and energy ties with Russia, not the least of which still looms large in the background is Nord Stream 2.

On this matter, the White House indicated Biden is pressing the German Chancellor on putting in place plans to halt cooperation with Russia on Nord Stream 2 if Ukraine is invaded. But given the pipeline is now complete, and ready to start pumping gas while merely awaiting final German regulatory approval, it’s hard to see how amenable Berlin will in the end be to this option.

CNN described, “Looming over the meeting, however, is the question of Scholz’s resolve to confront Putin. Among the United States’ major European allies, Germany has appeared the most reluctant to commit to lethal aid, sending thousands of helmets instead of weapons and refusing to allow another NATO ally, Estonia, to send German-made howitzers to Ukraine.”

Germany remains among leading European countries which has refused to bolster its forces along NATO’s ‘eastern flank’ – and has gone so far as to ban its weapons from being shipped Ukrainian forces.

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US Scrambles For ‘Contingency Plans’ From Energy Firms On Gas Supply Crunch Amid Russia-Ukraine Crisis

US Scrambles For ‘Contingency Plans’ From Energy Firms On Gas Supply Crunch Amid Russia-Ukraine Crisis

It appears that both Washington and Kiev are still convinced that Russia is preparing a military offensive against Ukraine to happen at some point by the close of January. Despite Western estimates echoed over the past couple months that some 100,000 Russian troops are currently near the border, Moscow has been vehement in its denial that it’s planning any kind of invasion.

But Moscow is pointing the finger right back at NATO, with on Sunday Putin’s spokesman admitting Russian troops are on the border because it can no longer “tolerate” NATO’s own “gradual invasion” of Ukraine.

Image source: Bloomberg News

Sunday comments by Dmitry Peskov were firm in their denunciation of NATO’s continued expansion right up to Russia’s doorstep. “Unfortunately, not fixed in a juridical, in a legally binding guaranteeing document, but it — there was a guarantee that NATO would never… expand its military infrastructure or political infrastructure eastwards,” Peskov told CNN.

“Unfortunately, the opposite thing started to happen since then, and NATO’s military infrastructure started to get closer and closer to the borders of the Russian Federation,” he added. Russia now sees its national security as directly threatened and “endangered” – the Kremlin spokesman added.

Within the past days of ratcheting tit-for-tat accusations, it’s also been revealed that the Biden administration is seeking to reassure European partners of ‘contingency plans’ should a Ukraine-Russia conflict disrupt the transfer of energy supplies to the European Union. Russia is source fpr up to one-third of all of Europe’s critical gas supplies.

The Biden White House is still threatening severe sanctions, which also holds the potential for Russia using its energy supplies as a retaliatory weapon…

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Moscow Declares Kazakhstan Unrest “Foreign-Inspired Attempt” Of “Armed & Trained Groups” To Overthrow State

Moscow Declares Kazakhstan Unrest “Foreign-Inspired Attempt” Of “Armed & Trained Groups” To Overthrow State

Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday issued its most definitive and biting criticisms of the unfolding crisis just its its south, in the large former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, which it should be remembered is the size of Europe in terms of land mass.

Echoing statements this week from embattled strongman Kazakh president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who has labeled the raging and increasingly violent fuel price hike protests and riots as “terroristic” in nature and inspired by “outside” forces, Russia has described a “foreign-inspired attempt to use armed and trained groups of people” to overthrow the legitimate government.

Kazakh security forces battle rioters in the streets, via TASS.

“We consider the recent events in a friendly country to be a foreign-inspired attempt to use armed and trained groups of people forcibly to undermine the security and integrity of the state“, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

“She stressed that Russia is interested in reinstating the status quo in Kazakhstan, and will assist Kazakh authorities in stopping the violence,” Russian media further cited her as saying.

Earlier in the day relatively small deployments of Russian paratroopers were filmed boarding military transport aircraft. This after the regional Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) alliance authorized a peace-keeping force on the ground. As we noted previously, there’s nothing so far to suggest that the Kremlin is deploying a very large force – also as it likely has its eyes still focused on the Ukraine crisis 2.0 and NATO eastward expansion.

A number of Western observers have noted the unlikelihood of Russia getting too bogged down the Kazakhstan situation. Given the expanse of the protests and unrest, any significant deployment and crackdown against the rioting would require a huge military and logistical effort.

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Impending Planetary Disaster Should Unite Us, Yet We Remain More Divided Than Ever

Impending Planetary Disaster Should Unite Us, Yet We Remain More Divided Than Ever

Listen to a reading of this article:

Charles Bukowski has a quote: “We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”

Terrorized and flattened by trivialities, eaten up by nothing. I think about this quote a lot not just as pertains to the inevitability of our individual deaths, but to the looming death of the entire world.

The website Antiwar.com has been doing a good job keeping track of all the many US cold war escalations against Russia and China, which seem to be coming out on a near-daily basis now. Just right off their front page today there’s a story about how the US considering is putting more military aid in Ukraine on the allegation that Russia is plotting an invasion, another about Moscow claiming that US bombers just practiced a simulated nuclear strike on Russia and have have greatly increased their activity along its border, another about Beijing’s anger over increased US war ship activity in the Taiwan Strait, another about Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton’s assurance that Australia would join the US in a war against China to defend Taiwan, and yet another about Beijing and Moscow signing an agreement to deepen their military cooperation to counter hostilities from Washington.

This, along with the myriad symptoms our biosphere is showing us of impending collapse, and we still somehow manage to remain terrorized and flattened by trivialities. Eaten up by nothing.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russia running out of oil? Profitable reserves may last only another 20 years, Moscow says, citing improved tech as only solution

Russia running out of oil? Profitable reserves may last only another 20 years, Moscow says, citing improved tech as only solution

Russia running out of oil? Profitable reserves may last only another 20 years, Moscow says, citing improved tech as only solution
Russia’s lucrative role as one of the world’s largest energy exporters could be under threat in the not-too-distant future, a top Moscow official has warned, claiming oil deposits could begin running dry within just two decades.

Speaking to journalists at an oil and gas conference in the Siberian city of Tyumen on Wednesday, the acting head of the Federal Agency for Mineral Resources, Evgeny Petrov, said the supply of black gold is far from never-ending. According to him, “profitable reserves [of oil] will last for around 20 or 21 years.”

If Moscow wants to retain its status as one of the world’s largest sellers of crude oil, it will have to invest in new technologies to explore and tap deposits that are harder to access, Petrov said. He went on to add that there could be vast, untapped riches under the soil in Western Siberia. “Extraction is still ongoing here, and there is potential for it to go on for many, many years,” the official claimed.

Earlier this summer, statistics published by the Russian government showed the country’s economy was becoming less and less dependent on barreling oil and pumping gas. In the first part of this year, the energy sector made up only around 15% of the country’s official gross domestic product, down from nearly 20% the year before, with manufacturing, chemicals, and heavy industry making up the difference.In January, output of the coveted petrochemical plunged to the lowest level amid turmoil over international energy markets, with oil prices falling by an unprecedented margin as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The Taiwan Strait Getting Hot, Hot, Hot…2.0

The Taiwan Strait Getting Hot, Hot, Hot…2.0

We originally posted the following in October 2018 after President Trump threw Montenegro, then the newest member of NATO under the bus a few months earlier.

We suspected POTUS’ loose lips would someday sink ships, at least metaphorically, if not literally.

The flapping of his jaws back in July 2018, we believe, triggered the geopolitical dynamics, sending a signal to Moscow and Beijing that the U.S. was not committed to its allies and we now find ourselves on the verge of a geopolitical hurricane.

As if the market didn’t have enough on its plate dealing with its extreme overvaluation and the current American political shit show.

The Taiwan Strait Getting Hot, Hot, Hot…

Posted on October 21, 2018 by macromon

We posted the following in July after President Trump threw Montenegro under the bus.

Taiwan may be about to get hot, hot, hot in the next year after last night’s Commander in Chief’s ambiguous message on defense treaties.  – GMM

One of GMM‘s most excellent followers, who we very much like and respect, responded with this:

This whole article is a science-fiction of oh, this could happen, and oh that could happen…. And we could be hit with an asteroid tomorrow. Just sit back and watch the hands that are dealt and how they are played. This article is either Sci-fi or false news. Your choice!

We still like and respect the reader, by the way.

Montenegro

By the way, in case your wondering about Montenegro?  It didn’t take a Ph.D. in international relations to figure out Trump’s interview with Fox would lather up Putin and wasn’t difficult to anticipate the outcome.

In an interview with Fox’s Tucker Carlson last night, President Trump seemed to question the raison d’être of NATO and foreign alliances in general.

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Russia Condemns US “Warships” Off Venezuela’s Coast – Says Coup Attempts Ongoing

Russia Condemns US “Warships” Off Venezuela’s Coast – Says Coup Attempts Ongoing

We might chalk it up to stating the obvious, but by and large the media has moved on from Venezuela, however, the coup plotters in Washington have not. Apparently the Kremlin also wishes to remind the world of this, given its ongoing support to Maduro and his army, and given that the Russian foreign ministry has remained vocal on the issue, announcing this week that “US-backed attempts to stage a coup in Venezuela will continue.” 

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters in Moscow: “We will continue to resist attempts to stage a coup in Venezuela that have been a failure so far. However, these attempts will continue at the US behest,” according to TASS. This was followed with similar statements Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday condemning the presence of American “warships” off Venezuela. She specifically identified a US Coast Guard ship as having been spotted 20 kilometers off the Venezuelan port of La Guaira. “This activity only aggravates the situation and does not contribute to the strengthening of trust,” she said.Illustrative file photo, via the AP

She also repeated Moscow’s condemnation of ongoing externally backed illegal coup attempts: “At the same time, the radical opposition has initiated negotiations with the Southern Command of the US Armed Forces to overthrow the legitimate government,” she said in reference to the Juan Guido led opposition. 

The foreign ministry further slammed last week’s hostile takeover by D.C. police and US Secret Service of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington after a handful of activists had been living there at the request of the Maduro government to safeguard it from opposition takeover. “This is a gross violation of Article 22 and Article 45 of the Vienna Convention in regards to ensuring the protection of the diplomatic mission,” Zakharova stated.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Moscow Slams NATO Black Sea Drills As Alliance Vows Support To Ukraine And Georgia

Moscow Slams NATO Black Sea Drills As Alliance Vows Support To Ukraine And Georgia

The Kremlin has slammed NATO’s multi-national “Sea Shield 2019” naval drills which kicked off in the Black Sea on Friday and will include limited Ukrainian defense forces. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said upon the military games’ beginning, which also happens to mark NATO’s 70th birthday: “Having militarized NE Europe, NATO has decided to increase its military presence in the Black Sea.”

The Sea Shield 2019 is set to run from April 5 to April 13 and involves “14 Romanian warships and six warships from Bulgaria, Canada, Greece, the Netherlands, Turkey with 2,200 troops will carry out joint combat tasks in the Black Sea region,” according to Ukraine’s Mission to NATO and the Romanian Ministry of National Defense. Aerial assets will also be deployed as part of the games. Prior drills on the Black Sea by war ships of the NATO Standing Maritime Group-2, via the AFP 

Crucially, non-NATO countries Ukraine and Georgia will also take part — both of which have long been potential flash points between the west and Russia. However, officials reports say their involvement will be limited to coast guard maneuvers. 

But NATO officials have described the exercise as “a long-planned, annual exercise led by Romania” and claimed that “neither the patrols, nor the exercise, are linked to events in Ukraine.”

“Three Allied nations [Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey] border the Black Sea, and NATO regularly conducts exercises and operations in the Black Sea in order to maintain credible deterrence and readiness,” a NATO official continued in response to questions from Russian reporters last week. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commemorating NATO’s 70th in Washington on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. Image source: AP

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Pompeo Demands Moscow “Cease Unconstructive Behavior” In Venezuela

Pompeo Demands Moscow “Cease Unconstructive Behavior” In Venezuela 

As we predicted a number of times before, a proxy war between Russia and the United States appears now heating up in Venezuela — this after over the weekend Russia sent a military transport plane filled with Russian troops commanded by First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces of Russia Gen. Vasily Tonkoshkurov, which landed in Caracas Saturday. We also reported the major development this morning that new satellite images reveal a major deployment of S-300 air defense missile systems to a key airbase south of Caracas.

Russia’s highly visible deployment of a small troop contingency along with a reported 35 tons of cargo has resulted in a direct and firm response from Washington as on Monday morning the US Secretary of State called on Russia to “cease its unconstructive behavior”.Pompeo has been touring the Middle East over the past days. Image source: Reuters

According to Reuters Pompeo conveyed the message directly via a phone call with his Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Spokesman Robert Palladino addressed the phone call in the following statement:

The secretary told Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov that the United States and regional countries will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela.

Palladino added that Pompeo specifically condemned Russian military support for the “illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro.” 

Pompeo had earlier this month vowed to continue to put “unconstrained” pressure on the Maduro regime after it became apparent that all internal coup attempts by the Juan Guaido-led opposition had failed. 

As we reported previously this week’s tensions follows a high-level meeting in Rome last week, during which Russia reiterated a grave warning to the US – Moscow will not tolerate American military intervention to topple the Venezuelan government with whom it is allied – thus it appears Russia is taking no chances with its South American ally.

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Russian Troops, Aid Arrive In Venezuela After Delivering Red Line Warning To Trump

Russian Troops, Aid Arrive In Venezuela After Delivering Red Line Warning To Trump

Just days after a high-level meeting in Rome this week, during which Russia reiterated a grave warning to the US – Moscow will not tolerate American military intervention to topple the Venezuelan government with whom it is allied – it appears Russia is taking no chances with its South American ally.

After the Rome meeting, Ryabkov said bluntly:

“We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings.”

One of those warnings delivered by Ryabkov is understood to have been that no American military intervention in Venezuela will be tolerated by Moscow.

For his part, Abrams sounded as if he had emerged from the meeting after having been given a severe reprimand.

“No, we did not come to a meeting of minds, but I think the talks were positive in the sense that both sides emerged with a better understanding of the other’s views,” he told reporters.

“A better understanding of the other’s views,” means that the American side was given a red line to back off.

And now, according to journalist Javier I. Mayorca, Colonel General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of the Main Staff of the Ground Forces – First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces of Russia, arrived in Venezuela.

The Russian general arrived in the Bolivarian Republic accompanied by 99 servicemen. On board the An-124 delivered 35 tons of cargo.

“LAST MINUTE This afternoon a delegation of 99 Russian soldiers arrived at the Maiquetia airport, under the command of the defense minister of the largest country Vasilly Tonkoshkurov. They were received on the presidential ramp by the VA Marianny Mata, dir International Affairs and Integration (1/2)

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Venezuela Orders PDVSA Offices Relocate To Moscow; Putin Affirms Support To “Friend” Maduro

Venezuela Orders PDVSA Offices Relocate To Moscow; Putin Affirms Support To “Friend” Maduro

A top Venezuelan official has announced that President Nicolas Maduro has ordered national oil and gas company PDVSA to close its current European headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal and move it to Moscow. The announcement came from Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez during a press conference standing alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Friday. 

“President Nicolas Maduro instructed the Lisbon branch of PDVSA to close this office and relocate the office to Moscow,”Rodriguez said, according to Russia’s TASS news agency. It appears the relocation is already underway, and is part of the framework of “broadening cooperation” with Russian energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom, according to the statement.

Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., PDVSA offices, via AFP

The Venezuelan vice president said, “This is done in line with our plans to expand technical cooperation in the oil production area with Rosneft, with Gazprom. The moment now is the most suitable to do so. We are changing the format of our relations.” And she added, “It’s the perfect time, as we are reshaping our relations.”

As part of the press briefing, Russian FM Lavrov conveyed President Putin’s words of support and solidarity to his “friend” President Maduro in a further clear sign that Moscow has dedicated itself to helping Venezuela’s state oil company weather the storm of US economic war and sanctions. 

Lavrov explained in the press conference, “Russia will further help the Venezuelan government to solve social and economic problems, which includes lending support via legitimate humanitarian aid.”

This after what’s been widely acknowledged as failed US-led coup efforts over the past weeks in support of opposition leader Juan Gaido, who has tried to rally support for greater external “pro-democracy” intervention against the Caracas government. As part of her remarks Rodriguez slammed what she called a US “operation” of “sabotage” against a “legal government” spearheaded by White House envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Kremlin’s Military Posture Reconsidered

The Kremlin’s Military Posture Reconsidered

To the vast majority of Americans, including the foreign policy establishment, the question posed in the title may seem something of a joke. After all, absolute military superiority over Russia and other potential rivals for global influence has been the objective of US military policy for the last twenty-five years or more, at vast budgetary expense. One instrument for its achievement has been the roll-out of a system known as the global missile defense, which in effect encircles Russia and China, posing the threat of massive simultaneous missile strikes that could overwhelm any defenses. To intelligence specialists at the Pentagon, who likely have been watching, as I have done, what the Kremlin disseminated earlier today in Russian only versions so far, the question of Moscow turning the tables is entirely serious and shocking.

When Vladimir Putin first publicly described Russia’s latest state-of-the-art weapons systems in development and deployment one year ago, during his 1 March 2018 Address to the bicameral legislature, he said these systems would ensure the re-establishment of full strategic parity with the United States. Western media sniggered. US politicians, with a very few exceptions, chose to ignore what they considered to be just domestic electioneering during a presidential campaign that Putin was expected to win handily. It was all a bluff, they said.

In his annual Address this past Wednesday, 22 February, President Putin expanded on those developments in armaments, reported which systems were now entering active service. He made it clear one of them is the planned Russian response to a likely consequence of US withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: the stationing by the U.S. of nuclear armed cruise missiles like the Tomahawk on land and directed against Russia, all of which would reduce the warning time of incoming attack in Moscow to just 10–12 minutes and constitute an existential risk.

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Putin rattles sabre as nuclear pact collapses

RUSSIA-POLITICS

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his state of the nation address in Moscow on Wednesday. Photo: AFP / Alexander Nemenov

Putin rattles sabre as nuclear pact collapses

Russian President warns West that deploying missile launchers in Europe could ignite ‘tit for tat’ response

President Putin’s state of the nation address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow this week was an extraordinary affair. While heavily focused on domestic social and economic development, Putin noted, predictably, the US decision to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and clearly outlined the red lines in regard to possible consequences of the move.

It would be naïve to believe that there would not be a serious counterpunch to the possibility of the US deploying launchers “suitable for using Tomahawk missiles” in Poland and Romania, only a 12-minute flight away from Russian territory. 

Putin cut to the chase: “This is a very serious threat to us. In this case, we will be forced – I want to emphasize this – forced to take tit-for-tat steps.”

Later that night, many hours after his address, Putin detailed what was construed in the US, once again, as a threat.

“Is there some hard ideological confrontation now similar to what was [going on] during the Cold War? There is none. We surely have mutual complaints, conflicting approaches to some issues, but that is no reason to escalate things to a stand-off on the level of the Caribbean crisis of the early 1960s”.

This was a direct reference to the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 when President Kennedy confronted USSR’s Nikita Khrushchev over missiles deployed off the US mainland. 

The Russian Defense Ministry, meanwhile, has discreetly assured that conference calls with the Pentagon are proceeding as scheduled, every week, and that this bilateral dialogue is “working”.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Moscow Will Do “Whatever It Takes” To Defend Its Interests In Venezuela

Moscow Will Do “Whatever It Takes” To Defend Its Interests In Venezuela

After decrying US sanctions against Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA as “illegal” and enforcing “unfair competition”, a Kremlin spokesman has reiterated that Russia is prepared to use “all mechanisms available to us” to defend its economic interests in Venezuela – interests that are closely tied to the Maduro regime.

Russia

According to RT, Russia has extended billions of dollars of loans to PDVSA, mostly via oil firm Rosneft. The company has extended $6 billion of loans which must be repaid in crude by the end of the year. Data from S&P Global Platts shows that as of November 2018, Venezuela had a $3.1 billion outstanding loan to repay to Rosneft.

Rosneft also has five joint upstream projects with PDVSA in Venezuela. Peskov said that Russia is still assessing the potential impact of the PDVSA sanctions for Moscow.

According to analysts briefed by Platts, whatever becomes of Maduro, Rosneft likely won’t be cut off from Venezuelan oil because the country has abundant reserves, and oil is practically the only ‘hard currency’ it can access. An analyst at a Western bank estimated that Rosneft assets in Venezuela are equivalent to some $2.5 billion, plus another $2.5 billion in crude supplies owed for the loans.

“The worst-case scenario – which is unlikely to materialize – under which Rosneft loses all the money it invested in Venezuela, would be biting but not critical for the company, with quarterly free cash flow at over $4 billion,” the analyst told Platts.

Meanwhile, the US has warned that the “path to relief” for PDVSA is via the “expeditious transfer of control” to opposition leader Juan Guaido, which the US insists should be followed by Democratic elections.

Though the Kremlin has denied the reports, rumors about the presence of 400 Kremlin affiliated mercenaries in Venezuela make more sense given how much money is at stake.

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