Venezuela and Russia on Saturday agreed to increase investment in diverse spheres despite sanctions by the US, according to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“We have agreed on our path of future work, to deepen economic cooperation of investments in other areas, despite illegitimate sanctions”, Lavrov added.

The priority sectors for investment are energy, natural resources, industry, and agriculture, Lavrov said, adding that great importance would also be placed on developing military cooperation.

Delcy Rodriguez, the Vice President of Venezuela, said that this year, the governments of Russia and Venezuela would celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations.

“In the framework of the 75th anniversary of our relationship, we will be holding in Venezuela (a session of) the (Russia-Venezuela) High-Level Intergovernmental Commission, where we will be ratifying and expanding economic cooperation,” Rodriguez said.

In early hours of Friday, the Russian foreign minister arrived in Caracas as part of his Latin American tour, which had taken him to Mexico and Cuba.

The US has been pursuing a policy of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation against the Venezuelan government in support of opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Last month, the US Treasury blacklisted seven delegates of the Venezuelan National Assembly, claiming that the designated persons “took steps to undermine the elections process in the National Assembly”.

Also in January, the US government designated 15 aircraft as the “blocked property” of Venezuelan state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela.

In October, Russia and Venezuela boosted military ties in an apparent sign of Moscow’s continued support for the South American nation amid a political crisis.

The Venezuelan leader thanked Russia for the military cooperation between the two countries, saying his nation had a solid defence grid to resist any outside aggression.

Russia plans to send up to 600,000 tonnes of grain to the crisis-stricken country this year, up from 254,000 tonnes last year, according to authorities.

Russia is the second-largest lender to Caracas after China, with Moscow heavily investing in Venezuela’s oil resources and Caracas acquiring Russian arms worth billions of dollars.

In April, the two countries signed 11 agreements.

Russia and Venezuela have in the last 18 years signed about 260 cooperation agreements in mining, oil, economic, energy, food and military matters.

Putin’s spokesman said on the eve of the meeting that the two leaders would also discuss “direct meddling in Latin American affairs by third parties”.

The Venezuelan leader last visited Moscow for talks with Putin in December.

Russia and Venezuela enjoy a long history of ties and Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez, known for his passionate tirades against the United States, was a welcome guest at the Kremlin.

Putin also reaffirmed his country’s commitment to technical-military cooperation with Venezuela – the largest buyer of Russian weapons and military equipment in Latin America – particularly when it comes to the supply of spare parts and maintenance of the materials acquired by Caracas.

(With inputs from agency)