Venezuela has been one of Russia's most important trading and military allies in Latin America (after Brazil), making a strong bond in the bilateral relations between the 2 countries.
The Kremlin has been one of the strongest critics of the US’ sanctions regime. America does not recognise the election of Maduro as Venezuela’s president, and has slapped severe sanctions on his country, specifically targeting oil exports.
Oil makes up 98 % of the Venezuelan economy. Sanctions, as well as brain drain, lack of investment and mismanagement, have contributed to a collapse in Venezuela’s oil output.
Russia has long been a strong supporter of Venezuela´s energy sector. In addition to participating in crude production projects, both the government and Russian Rosneft have extended loans to Venezuela and PDVSA.
Rosneft had till March 2020 resisted sanctions pressure and continued to take crude produced in Venezuela.