Putin warns against U.S. military intervention in Venezuela, high oil prices
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Thursday that U.S. military intervention in Venezuela would be a disaster and said even Washington's allies did not support such a course of action.
Speaking at an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Putin also said that Russian technical specialists remained in Venezuela in order to service Russian military hardware, something he said they were contractually obliged to do.
However, he said Moscow was not setting up any special military bases in Venezuela, a close Russian ally.
Russia to drop nuclear deal with U.S.
At the same event, Putin also said Russia was prepared to drop a nuclear arms control agreement with the U.S., known as New START, if there was a lack of interest in renewing it.
"If no one feels like extending the agreement – New START – well, we won't do it then," Putin said, referring to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which caps the countries' number of nuclear warheads.
Venezuela issue should be considered in oil pricing
The decline in production in Iran and Venezuela, problems in Libya and Nigeria as well as the level of consumption of oil and oil products in the summer should be taken into account in oil pricing, Putin said.
He said Russia and OPEC would jointly decide the oil output at a policy meeting in the coming weeks though there are divergences among the two sides.
"We have certain agreements now. So, I will not jump ahead and will not say now what we need to do in the second half of the year. But we will make consolidated solutions," the president added.
"The average price around 60-65 U.S. dollars per barrel is quite satisfactory. We don't need to drive up [price] to the top," Putin noted, while the price is lower than what Saudi Arabia expected.