Russia has the answer to Washington’s anti-Venezuela sanctions

If US lawmakers pass new legislation aimed at countering Russia’s influence in Venezuela, Moscow will have to take tit-for-tat measures, Russian Ambassador to Venezuela Vladimir Zayemsky told Izvesita. Washington has not yet clarified what kind of steps are in the works against Moscow, but the US has dropped some hints at restrictions on Russian-Venezuelan cooperation in the oil industry.

The only specific hint came from White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, who said that Washington might impose secondary sanctions on third country entities that cooperated with Venezuela’s state companies. However, the Russian envoy to Venezuela noted that the US threats would not affect the intentions of Moscow and Caracas to continue mutually beneficial cooperation.

The United States indeed can slap restrictions on certain Russian companies that cooperate with Venezuela but impressive results will hardly be achieved, said Director of the National Energy Security Fund Konstantin Simonov. "For instance, Rosneft is already under sanctions, it has gotten used to them and despite attempts to crank up pressure on the company, it has been doing well so far," the expert noted. However, the new sanctions do carry some risks. "These sanctions can be viewed as a warning that if regime change does come to Venezuela, the country’s new authorities may refuse to fulfill the previous government’s obligations," Simonov noted.

Russian politicians and diplomats suppose that the threat of new sanctions points to Washington’s growing frustration with the fact that its major bets to quickly change the Venezuelan regime have failed miserably.

"The US is searching for an external excuse for the failure of its plans to carry out a quick coup in Venezuela. The White House cannot just go and admit that it made a mistake by betting on Guaido, a lame duck that has been unable to encourage the people to follow him. This is why the US is using an already proven method, searching for an external enemy to blame for the failure of its plans to bring democracy to Venezuela," Russian Institute for Strategic Studies expert Igor Pshenichnikov told the paper. "But our country has enough power, resources and wisdom to pursue a policy that we consider to be correct and necessary, based on international law, no matter if it is about Venezuela or any other country," the expert emphasized.

Venezuela Maduro