Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday sent a letter of support to Venezuela's ailing President Hugo Chavez, describing him as a "true fighter."
"Throughout the many years of our friendship, you have convinced me more than once that you are a true fighter, a brave man, a man of strong will," Putin wrote Chavez, who remains hospitalized in Havana, Cuba, following cancer surgery Dec. 11.
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro read the contents of the letter at the conclusion of a meeting with representatives of Russia's state-run oil company Rosneft, in Vineta, the presidential residence in Fuerte Tiuna, a military town southwest of Caracas.
Putin said he is confident Chavez will successfully complete his recovery in Havana and return to continue building "a prosperous and strong Venezuela," according to Maduro.
The Russian delegation, headed by Rosneft President Igor Sechin arrived in Caracas Tuesday to sign energy accords with Venezuelan Oil and Mining Minister Rafael Ramirez.
An agreement to establish a Russian-Venezuelan drill- manufacturing company is among the accords signed at the meeting between the two senior officials at the Caracas headquarters of Venezuela's state-owned oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
"I am pleased to take this valuable opportunity, the trip to Caracas of our friend Igor Sechin, to deliver to you my most sincere wishes of support, to wish you the speediest and fullest recovery," Putin wrote Chavez.
Thanks to Chavez, Putin added, the two nations have developed strong ties of cooperation in the areas of politics, economy, trade, energy and military technology.