Venezuela and Russia Strengthen Ties, Lavrov Supports BRICS Membership

The allied countries committed to developing alternative economic routes to circumvent US sanctions and expand oil and gas cooperation.
Lavrov said Caracas and Moscow would explore “the peaceful use of nuclear energy” as part of broader cooperation agreements. (Photo:

Caracas, February 22, 2024 ( – Russia and Venezuela have agreed to increase strategic cooperation and to continue building a united front to promote multipolarity and justice in global issues.

On Tuesday, Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in Venezuela on a Latin American tour that included Cuba and Brazil. During his time in Caracas, he was presented with the unveiling of a bust honoring Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, before engaging in high-level meetings with government officials.

President Nicolás Maduro received Lavrov at Miraflores Palace, where he pledged support for the Kremlin’s fight against the current rise of Nazism. He also called to “reinforce and strengthen the entire strategic map of comprehensive cooperation” between the two countries under their “unbreakable” friendship.

“Russia is advancing on all fronts […] They have resisted and now they are advancing. Venezuela supports Russia in its fight against the Nazis […] it is our fight too,” affirmed Maduro.

For his part, Lavrov praised Venezuela’s leadership in the fight against unilateralism as a founder of the Group of Friends in Defense of the United Nations (UN) Charter, an initiative created by Caracas in 2020 to promote a multipolar international order and respect for international law. He added that Russia would help maximize its effectiveness.

The Russian Minister went on to add that Moscow would support Venezuela’s endeavor to join the BRICS group, created in 2009 by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to counteract the US and European economic and political hegemony.

“We are aware of the interest of our Venezuelan friends in rapprochement with BRICS. As chair of the association this year, Russia will contribute to this,” Lavrov said during the meeting.

In January, Moscow assumed the BRICS’s chairmanship for 2024 with Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as its newest additions. Argentina’s Javier Milei rescinded the country’s invitation to join while Venezuela’s application was not approved in last year’s expansion process.

However, Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Yván Gil stated that the Caribbean country has been nonetheless participating in BRICS meetings as an associate member and hopes to soon receive news about full membership.

In a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart, Gil said they had committed to remain united on the international scene as both countries share the same principles of global justice.

“In recent years, the UN Charter has been vilified, attacked by countries that self-identify as the international hegemony and use this stage to attack [other countries] through sanctions, aka unilateral coercive measures,” expressed Gil.

Lavrov coincided with his Venezuelan partner and said the two had “exchanged views” on how to confront the US and its allies’ economic sanctions and asset seizures applied against both nations.

“Venezuela’s money, its public reserves have been frozen by a number of Western countries, which did the same with the Russian state assets. This is a gross and blatant violation of international law and civilized relations in trade, the economy, investment, or any other area,” expressed the Russian official.

Minister Gil highlighted that Russia’s MIR payment system was “advancing substantially” in Venezuela, and although it was mostly used for Russian tourists visiting the country, Venezuelan authorities were hoping to expand its operations as the countries increase their trade exchange.

The US blockade against Venezuela has excluded the country from the SWIFT system, the financial messaging platform that facilitates the movement of money internationally. In recent years, Caracas and its international allies have been exploring ways to move away from the dominance of the US dollar.

Regarding bilateral cooperation, the foreign ministers committed to enhancing commercial agreements and arranged to install an insulin plant and a global satellite database system with Russian technology in Venezuela.

Lavrov specified that the two nations would further develop trade and economic cooperation focusing on “oil production, the development of gas deposits, agriculture, medicine, pharmaceutics, space exploration, information and communication technologies, and innovations.”

The Russian diplomat said they had also discussed “the peaceful use of nuclear energy” as another promising sphere of joint work and charged the high-level Intergovernmental Russian-Venezuelan Commission to advance in these matters.

The two foreign policy representatives likewise announced plans to strengthen sports and cultural ties, which will see the opening of a second Russian language institute in the South American country and the reopening of the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Caracas. 

Answering a journalist, Lavrov concluded that the Putin administration was ready to continue supporting the dialogue process between the Maduro government and the US-backed opposition.