January 29, 2019 / 9:34 AM / 7 months ago

Russia expects Venezuela will struggle to repay its debts to Moscow

MOSCOW, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Russia expects Venezuela will probably have problems servicing its sovereign debt to Moscow, Russia's Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak said on Tuesday, after the United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA.

Russia has been a long-standing ally of Venezuela and has acted as a lender of last resort for Caracas, with the government and Rosneft handing Venezuela at least $17 billion in loans and credit lines since 2006.

The Trump administration on Monday imposed sweeping sanctions on PDVSA, aimed at severely curbing the OPEC member's crude exports to the United States and at pressuring socialist President Nicolas Maduro to step down.

"There will probably be problems. Everything now depends on the army, on the soldiers and how faithful they will be to their duty and oath. It is difficult, impossible to give a different assessment," Storchak told reporters. (Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn)

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