Russia’s largest crude producer Rosneft said Tuesday that its operations in Venezuela are legal and it will defend its rights in accordance with international law if it suffers damages in connection with claims by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that its operations there defy US sanctions.  Late Monday Pompeo accused Rosneft of purchasing crude from PDVSA in defiance of US sanctions, and recently increasing oil supplies to the Maduro regime.

“Russia’s state-owned oil company Rosneft continues to purchase crude oil cargoes from PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, in defiance of US sanctions,” Pompeo said.  “And Rosneft’s CEO Igor Sechin continues to throw a lifeline to the regime. Recently Sechin ordered Rosneft to sell even more oil to the Maduro regime.”  Rosneft said it was “surprised” by Pompeo’s comments and that its activities in Venezuela, which include oil production and supply “are carried out in accordance with international law and existing contracts that were agreed long before the US imposed unilateral sanctions.”

Rosneft said it is “evaluating his statements and in the event of any damages will seek to defend its rights in accordance with international law.”