Venezuelan president arrives in Moscow to meet with Putin

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro touches a gold bar as he speaks during a meeting with the ministers responsible for the economic sector at Miraflores Palace in Caracas Venezuela

REUTERS Marco Bello Maduro Defends Venezuela's Right to Export Gold Amid Looming US Sanctions

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan heaped praise on Venezuela's embattled socialist leader Monday as political and economic ties between the two countries blossom.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro arrived in Moscow on Tuesday to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, a spokesman for the Venezuelan Embassy in Russia informed TASS.

"We have this strength, we have this opportunity", said Erdogan through an after a meeting with Maduro and many local businessmen.

Hit by low oil prices, mismanagement and the impact of U.S. sanctions, Venezuela is in freefall.

"We know that the countries want to dominate and press, as they do with the rest of the world, and they have even threatened their lives and personal integrity", stated Erdogan.

Russian Federation is a major political ally of Venezuela, and Russia's largest oil company, Rosneft, is heavily invested in the South American nation's oil fields, which produce less crude each month.

Russian Federation and Venezuela enjoy a long history of ties and Maduro's predecessor Chavez, known for his passionate tirades against the United States, was a welcome guest at the Kremlin.

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"You can not punish an entire people to resolve political disagreements", the Turkish leader said, according to an official translation of his speech to a business forum.

The uncertain economic situation in the country earlier was reflected in increasing trade with Latin America, including Argentina and Peru. One of the reasons for the attack was "Venezuela's strong support for Palestine".

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro attend an agreement-signing ceremony between Turkey and Venezuela at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, December 3, 2018.

That marks a dramatic increase in trade between the two countries, which totaled just $84 million in 2016, officials said.

The Venezuelan government has been facing a series of U.S. embargoes targeting its economy and the country's officials since 2014, under the pretext of alleged human rights abuses and threats to U.S. national security.

Maduro responded by saying that his government has overcome the challenges it faced.

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