MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has hosted Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, hailing him for reaching out to the opposition.

Speaking at the start of their Kremlin talks, Putin noted that “Venezuela is going through uneasy times” and credited Maduro with “succeeding in establishing some contact” with opposition forces.

Venezuela’s opposition insists that any solution to the nation’s protracted economic and political crisis requires Maduro to step down. However the embattled socialist has shown no sign of ceding power and accused opponents of plotting with the U.S. to remove him by force.

During the Kremlin meeting, Maduro thanked Putin for political and diplomatic support and also hailed Russian wheat deliveries.

Addressing an energy conference in Moscow earlier Wednesday, Maduro said his government could discuss restructuring its $1 billion debt to Russia.

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