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2 Feb, 2024 08:56

Moscow slams South American nation for caving in to US pressure on weapons

Ecuador must understand that sending Russian-made arms to the US violates existing agreements, the Foreign Ministry has warned
Moscow slams South American nation for caving in to US pressure on weapons

Ecuador has made a “rash decision” by caving in to US demands for its old military equipment, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.

On Tuesday, Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa announced that his country will provide the US with outdated Russia-made military equipment despite Moscow’s protests, claiming that the equipment is not war material, but rather “scrap.”

The president added that this does not mean that Ecuador is violating international agreements, arguing that they only apply to military hardware, not scrap.

Speaking to the Russian daily Izvestia on Friday, Zakharova dismissed this notion, saying, “Our partners are well aware of the provisions of the contracts, including the obligation to use the supplied property for the stated purposes only and not transfer it to a third party without obtaining the appropriate agreement from the Russian side.”

The spokeswoman claimed that Ecuador made “a rash decision… under serious pressure from outside stakeholders.” She added that if the Russian-made equipment was indeed scrap, the US would not have offered to replace it.

Noboa previously said that Ecuador would give the US its outdated Russian and Ukrainian hardware in exchange for US-made equipment worth $200 million.

Russia’s ambassador to Ecuador, Vladimir Sprinchan, warned last month that Moscow would interpret weapons deliveries to the US as an “unfriendly move.”

Viktor Bondarev, the first deputy chairman of the Russian Senate Defense Committee, said that by sending arms to the US, Ecuador would violate its neutral status in the Ukraine conflict. He argued that even if the hardware is not operational, it will eventually find its way to Kiev, which will be able to use it for spare parts.

The US has acknowledged that it has been scouring for Soviet-era weapons in many parts of the world, including Central and South America and the Caribbean. “We are working with the countries that have the Russian equipment to either donate it or switch it out for United States equipment,” General Laura Richardson, the commander of the US Southern Command, said last year.

Russia has warned against supplying Ukraine with weapons, saying it will only prolong the conflict without changing the outcome.

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