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Iran Press TV

Venezuela signs $6 billion investment deals with Russia

Iran Press TV

Fri Dec 7, 2018 11:12AM

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has announced massive Russian oil and gold mining investments in his crisis-ridden country.

At the end of a three-day visit to the Russian capital Moscow, Maduro said on Friday that he has signed $5 billion US dollars' worth of contracts related to oil production with Russia.

"Contracts have been signed to guarantee investments for $5 billion to increase oil production with Russian partners of joint ventures," he said in a video posted on Twitter.

"We are also guaranteeing an investment of US$1 billion for mining, mostly in gold." he said.

Maduro did not provide specifics about where the investments would be made or how much money Russian companies would contribute.

The Venezuelan president, who flew to Moscow on Monday to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, has also sought to boost the country's gold output as an alternative source of hard currency amid the declining oil revenues, which make up over 90 percent of exports.

This, as the United States has sought to restrict Venezuela's gold trade through sanctions.

Venezuela Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez who also held talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on Thursday, said that Caracas is also interested in the modernization of ground-based and air-defense systems previously delivered by Russia.

"In the course of the talks between our presidents, which took place yesterday (Wednesday), many issues related to the military area were raised," he said.

"Particularly, those on strengthening cooperation in maintenance of the equipment supplied to our country from Russia. These are land-based and air systems. We agreed on the need of upgrading these systems," Padrino Lopez added.

Caracas has already bought a wide range of weapons systems from Russia in recent years, including S-300 missile systems, Mi helicopters, Tor-M1 missile systems, Su aircraft, Buk missile systems, Igla man-portable air-defense systems and heavy multiple rocket launchers Smerch and Grad.

The country, once Latin America's richest nation, has been battling hyperinflation.

In a report last month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the inflation rate will reach 10 million percent next year. It estimated that consumer prices in Venezuela would rise 1,370,000 percent in 2018, up from a July projection of 1 million percent.

Maduro said US economic sanctions blocked his country from the financial markets and kept the government from refinancing billions in debts.

He has accused the US of waging an economic war, which has sparked massive inflation and a shortage of basic commodities such as foodstuffs and medicine, and have forced millions of Venezuelans to leave the country.

Washington has targeted Caracas with harsh economic and political sanctions since 2014 under the pretext of alleged human rights abuses and threats to US national security.

Maduro has launched a series of economic plans in an attempt to curb hyperinflation. He recently carried out a redenomination of currency program, dropping five zeros from the country's old banknotes and introduced a new currency, known as the sovereign bolivar.

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