Russia expects Venezuela to have trouble repaying loan

MOSCOW (AP) – 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 state news agencies yesterday “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 said Venezuela owes Russia USD3 billion with repayments twice a year of around USD100 million, with the next due in March.

Russia also has extensive commercial interests in Venezu-ela, including state oil company Rosneft’s partnership with Petroleos de Venezuela SA, a state company placed under sanctions on Monday by the United States. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin shares the view of the Venezuelan government that the sanctions are “illegal”.