US scouring Latin America for Russian-made weapons – general
General Laura J. Richardson, who heads the Pentagon’s Southern Command, claimed on Thursday that Washington is in talks with as many as nine Latin American countries, aimed at supplying them with American weapons if they hand over their own stocks of Russian-made gear to Ukraine.
Speaking to the Atlantic Council, a think tank backed by NATO and funded by the US weapons industry, Richardson stated that a total of nine Latin American countries “have Russian equipment,” and that the Pentagon is “working to replace that with US equipment if those countries want to donate it to Ukraine.”
Richardson pointed out that three of these nations – Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua – have close relationships with Moscow. However, she did not clearly state whether these countries would be included in any potential arms-swap talks, or whether a potential deal would only involve the six more amenable to cooperation with the US.
However, the US actively opposes any policies that “benefit the Cuban government or its military, intelligence, or security agencies,” and bans transactions with most of these entities. Washington does not even recognize Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as the country’s legitimate leader and, likewise, considers Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s election in 2021 a “sham.”
The US has already agreed to sell more than 100 M1 Abrams tanks to Poland, to replace several hundred Soviet-era tanks donated to Ukraine by Warsaw. Similarly, the Biden administration has transferred US-made air defense systems to Slovakia to make up for the Soviet systems sent to Ukraine by its government.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has pushed US arms manufacturers to step up production of weapons sent to Ukraine from US military stocks. According to multiple reports, the unprecedented effort to arm Kiev’s forces has left American stockpiles near the point of exhaustion.