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Russia's Ryabkov To Visit Venezuela 'In Next Few Weeks'

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (file photo)

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has said he planned to visit Venezuela, a close Moscow ally, in "the next few weeks."

Russian news agencies quoted Ryabkov as making the announcement on June 13, amid continued Russian support for embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, backed by the United States and more than 50 other countries, declared himself interim president in January, while Maduro is backed by allies such as Russia and China.

Russia, which has supplied Venezuela with weapons and loans, in March deployed around 100 military personnel to the Latin American country.

U.S. President Donald Trump later called on Moscow to withdraw its troops and warned that "all options" were open to achieve that.

Maduro took office in 2013 and was sworn in for a second term in January following elections in May 2018 that were marred by an opposition boycott and claims of vote-rigging.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax