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    Opposition supporters carrying a cardboard cut-out of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido take part in a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government and to commemorate the Day of the Youth in Maracaibo, Venezuela February 12, 2019.

    Venezuelan Opposition Mulls Working on Establishing Contacts With Russia

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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (549)
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Venezuelan opposition will work on establishing contacts with Russia to discuss different issues including contracts with Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, National Assembly Deputy Jose Manuel Olivares told Sputnik in in Washington, DC.

    "I think a way of communication between the new government of Venezuela and Russia is going to be established in some way", Olivares said Thursday on the sidelines of a conference for Venezuela. When asked about the contracts between PDVSA and Russia, the deputy said, "The government has to work on that, on establishing a way of communication with Russia to discuss this directly".

    Earlier in the day, Guaido’s Representative to Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA’s board, David Smolansky, told Sputnik they hope Russia and China would help the transition of power in the crisis-torn country.

    READ MORE: US to Increase Efforts to Bring Humanitarian Aid to Venezuela — Special Envoy

    "We hope they [Russia and China] are going to contribute to transition in Venezuela", Smolansky said on Thursday. "I hope they will support democracy".

    In January, Guaido said that he had sent messages to Russia and China, claiming that these states were allegedly interested in the change of power in Venezuela, adding a claim that Caracas would be unable to repay loans under the presidency of Nicolas Maduro.

    However, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that Moscow had not received any messages from Venezuela's self-proclaimed leader Juan Guaido, stressing that Russia does not recognize Guaido as the head of state. Peskov has emphasized that constitutionally elected Maduro and his government remain Moscow's partners.

    Moreover, Venezuela, Russia and a number of other countries have recently established a working group at the United Nations to oppose foreign meddling in the Latin American country’s affairs.

    READ MORE: Russia Suspects Venezuela Coup by Military Means Becoming US Priority

    On Wednesday, opposition leader Juan Guaido’s office in Washington, DC announced a new board of directors for Citgo, PDVSA’s subsidiary in the United States.

    Later in the day, Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice nullified the appointment of new board members, blocked their bank accounts, and prohibited them from leaving the country. PDVSA on Thursday slammed Guaido’s move as an attempt to "steal the wealth of the people".

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has promised to bring to trial those who would recognize the new appointments. On 28 January, the United States blocked $7 billion in PDVSA assets in its jurisdiction and imposed a ban on deals with the entity as part of efforts to facilitate a power transfer.

    READ MORE: Venezuela to Increase Oil, Gold Production in 2019 Amid Domestic Crisis — Maduro

    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that by blocking PDVSA assets, the United States was taking care of this company "in the interests of the Venezuelan people". Caracas has slammed the move as unlawful and accused Washington of seeking to get its hands on Venezuelan oil reserves.

    On 23 January, Guaido declared himself interim president of Venezuela. The United States and its allies almost immediately recognized him. Russia, China and Mexico have been among the states that backed Maduro amid the ongoing political crisis.

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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (549)

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