Russia Slams U.S. Sanctions on Venezuelan Oil

Russia on Tuesday described the latest sanctions against the government of President Nicolas Maduro as illegitimate, even as the Russian Finance Ministry acknowledged that its loans to Caracas were at risk because of the crisis, S&P Global Platts reported.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the new U.S. measures blocking all U.S. revenue from Venezuela’s national oil company PDVSA were the latest example of Washington using economic sanctions to further U.S. commercial interests. The Kremlin has leveled similar criticism against U.S. sanctions on Iran and Ukraine.

“You know the consistent attitude of Moscow toward such actions, which our American colleagues are taking more and more frequently,” Peskov said. “We believe that in most cases, this is an instance of unfair competition.”

Also on Tuesday, Russia said 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 media 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 PDVSA, a state company placed under sanctions this week by the United States.