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Putin congratulates vote winner in oil ally Venezuela

MOSCOW- Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Nicolas Maduro on Monday on winning Venezuela's presidential election, saying he expected good relations to continue with a country where Moscow has significant oil investments.
Ties between Moscow and Caracas flourished under Hugo Chavez, the socialist leader who died last month of cancer. Maduro was Chavez's chosen successor and Russian officials were hoping for continuity to protect their energy and arms deals there.
"Putin expressed confidence that under Maduro's leadership Venezuela will further strengthen its relations of strategic partnership with Russia," the Kremlin said after the Sunday vote.
Russia has invested billions of dollars in Venezuelan oil projects and has given Caracas loans to buy weapons.
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