President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday extended condolences to Venezuela over the death of President Hugo Chavez, the Kremlin press service said.
Calling Chavez "an outstanding leader and manager" and "close friend of Russia," Putin said the Venezuelan president made great efforts and laid a solid foundation for the Russian-Venezuelan partnership during his presidency.
The two countries have developed strong political ties and launched large-scale humanitarian and development projects in the past few years, Putin said, urging the two partners continue to strengthen their relations following the right path.
Putin kept in close contact with Chavez and highly praised the leader who ruled the oil-rich Latin American nation for 14 years, said the Kremlin press service.
"He was an extraordinary and powerful man, who looked to the future, and always asked for the highest standard for himself," Putin said.
Putin believed the Venezuelan people will tackle the challenges and continue the "noble cause of creating a strong, independent and prosperous" country, he said.
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro, picked by Chavez as his successor, described Tuesday's death of the 58-year-old cancer-stricken president as a "historical tragedy" and urged all Venezuelans to unite together.