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23 Feb, 2024 09:34

Russia was ‘right’ to oppose weapons transfer to US – Ecuador

Quito was “surprised” that Washington openly admitted that the weapons would be given to Ukraine, President Daniel Noboa says
Russia was ‘right’ to oppose weapons transfer to US – Ecuador

Ecuador will not send any Soviet-era military equipment to the US over concerns that the weapons would be passed on to Ukraine, President Daniel Noboa has said. Moscow had protested against the weapons transfer scheme, saying Quito had no right to send hardware to a third country without Russia’s consent.

Noboa first announced plans to hand over its outdated Russian and Ukrainian military hardware to the US in exchange for American equipment to the tune of $200 million in early January, while dismissing Moscow’s protests on the matter. Back then the president claimed that the move did not violate existing treaties, which he said only applied only to military equipment, and not “scrap.”

Russia responded by warning Ecuador that the shipment would violate its neutrality in the Ukraine conflict, since the weapons likely be sent by the US to Kiev. Russian Ambassador to Ecuador Vladimir Sprinchan said last week that Quito had abandoned those plans, noting that the country was committed to “the resolution of conflicts peacefully, through diplomatic instruments.”

Speaking to CNN Espanol on Thursday, Noboa confirmed that the transfer to Washington was now off the table, explaining that “we don’t want to triangulate weapons,” and that Russia was “right” in this regard.

“To our surprise, the United States publicly communicated that this was going to be carried out for the armed conflict in Ukraine, we do not want to be part of it.”

He also recalled that Russia is the third largest trade partner for Ecuador, and stressed that his country did not want to violate any international treaties.

The US has for months been looking for Soviet-era weapons all over the world, including Central and South America, in order hand them over to Ukraine.

Kevin Sullivan, Deputy Undersecretary of the US Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, said earlier this month that the weapons exchange deal with Ecuador was “an arrangement to transfer equipment to the Ukrainian government,” while noting at the time that it was still under consideration by Quito.

Russia has repeatedly denounced Western arms shipments to Ukraine, warning that they will only prolong the conflict and make the West a direct participant in the hostilities.