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Venezuela VP, PDVSA chief travel to Russia to 'deepen ties'

CARACAS, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez and the head of the South American country’s state oil company, PDVSA, arrived in Russia to “deepen strategic alliances,” Venezuela’s information ministry said on Thursday.

Russia has been one of Venezuela’s top commercial allies since Washington sanctioned PDVSA last year as part of its bid to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro, who remains in power despite a sharp drop in the South American country’s crude exports, thanks to backing from the military and allies like Russia, China, Iran and Cuba.

Russian state oil company Rosneft pulled back from Venezuela after the Trump administration sanctioned two of its subsidiaries earlier this year. But Venezuela is seeking to sign new oil deals confidentially through a new “anti-blockade” law.

“(Rodriguez) will meet with senior Russian officials to keep deepening strategic alliances between the two countries in the context of the anti-blockade law,” Venezuela’s statement read, without providing details.

Venezuela is also participating in a clinical trial of the Russian-developed Sputnik V vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Science Minister Gabriela Jimenez accompanied Rodriguez and PDVSA Chief Executive Asdrubal Chavez on the trip. (Reporting by Mayela Armas Writing by Vivian Sequera and Luc Cohen Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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