AP NEWS

Russia expects Venezuela to have trouble repaying loan

January 29, 2019
FILE - In this file pool photo taken on Oct. 4, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. The crisis in Venezuela may have reached a new boiling point, but the geopolitical fault lines look familiar. Russia, China and Iran have thrown their support behind embattled Maduro, while the U.S., Canada and their allies in Western Europe are backing opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president. (Yuri Kadobnov/Pool Photo via AP, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia says it expects Venezuela to have problems repaying debt ahead of an upcoming payment on a Russian loan.

Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak told Russian state news agencies Tuesday “there will probably be problems,” adding that “everything now depends on the army, on the soldiers, on how true they will be to their service and oath.”

Storchak says Venezuela owes Russia $3 billion with repayments twice a year of around $100 million, with the next due in March. Russia also has extensive commercial interests in Venezuela, including state oil company Rosneft’s partnership with Petroleos de Venezuela SA, a state company placed under sanctions Monday by the United States.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the Kremlin shares the view of the Venezuelan government that the sanctions are “illegal.” He said Moscow views these sanctions as a tool of unfair competition on part of the United States.