Russian media and social media are ablaze about reports Russian aircraft are ferrying Venezuelan gold out of the country in order to sell to meet cash flow requirements. Caracas owes Russia billions of dollars in outstanding loans that it most likely cannot repay.
The Moscow Times reported, The sighting of two Russian planes in Venezuela this week sparked rumors that Moscow was helping the Nicolas Maduro government ship gold reserves out of the country in an attempt to quickly raise cash…A Boeing 777 operated by Russia’s Nordwind Airlines, capable of carrying 400 passengers, arrived in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas on Monday. It returned on Thursday to Vnukovo International Airport outside Moscow after a direct flight from Caracas…Another Russian-operated flight, a Boeing 757 cargo plane, arrived in Caracas on Wednesday via Vnukovo, Dubai and Cape Verde, according to publicly available flight data.
Russian independent news outlet Novaya Gozeta reported that Russian aircraft have flown 20 tons of gold bars to UAE which were then deposited in the Gulf nation’s central bank for liquidation to raise funds. The aircraft allegedly flew back to Caracas loaded with cash.
The Venezuelan opposition tweeted questions about 20 tons of gold being loaded onto Russian aircraft.
It is unlikely Russia is intending the payments for the Venezuelan people. Most likely, the Kremlin is more concerned about Putin’s popularity at home should the Venezuelan loans not be repaid. This would be a defeat in the face of Trump’s actions in the socialist Latin American country and that is something Moscow is more afraid of than the Maduro regime collapsing, which it most certainly will.
The Kremlin declared it had not idea about any Venezuelan gold leaving on Russian aircraft.
“I am unaware of any talks concerning this, I do not have any information,” the spokesman told reporters, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Peskov added that in any case, the decision to sell gold is Venezuela’s sovereign right, which is why “there is nothing to comment on”. The Russian presidential spokesman also denied Russia’s role as a mediator between Venezuela and third countries in the sale of gold. “No, neither the Kremlin, nor the [Russian] government have any connection to this,” he said, reported Russian state news agency TASS.