What Happened: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei held "constructive" talks about Venezuela and other issues during a meeting in Finland and would convene again in Sochi on May 14, RFE/RL reported May 7.
Why It Matters: The quickly scheduled follow-up meeting could indicate that the United States and Russia are looking to de-escalate their standoff over the political crisis in Venezuela, as well as continue diplomatic talks on other issues such as arms control. Moscow and Washington have emphasized the need to avoid a military escalation in Caracas, though officials on both sides have also warned that all options remain on the table.
Background: Russia — a vocal ally of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro — reportedly already has a sizable security presence in Venezuela, while the United States has been more hesitant about directly intervening to support the opposition’s push to oust Maduro.
- Venezuela's Vying Suitors Update Their Game Plans (May 3, 2019)
- Prior Interventions Can Help Us Understand Russia's Military Plans in Venezuela (April 26, 2019)