Ecuador abandons Ukraine weapons transfer plan

Aprilia Rine

Ecuador abandons Ukraine weapons transfer plan

Quito will not supply Ukraine with outdated Russian military equipment, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Gabriela Sommerfeld said, walking back her government’s previously announced plans. 

“Ecuador will not send any war material to a country that is involved in an international armed conflict,” Sommerfeld told a group of MPs on Monday. 

Sommerfeld stressed that Ecuador has been pushing for a “peaceful resolution” of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine that would be based on international law. 

In December, Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa announced the intention to deliver aging Soviet-era equipment to Ukraine in exchange for modern equipment from the US worth $200 million. Sommerfeld argued at the time that the gear in question was “not operational” and that it would be “not illegal” for Quito to dispose of it any way the country sees fit.

The Soviet-made gear in Ecuador’s stocks reportedly includes Mi-17 helicopters and Osa anti-air systems. 

Moscow has slammed the plan, saying that it would be a violation of contracts to transfer military equipment to a third party without Russia’s consent. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Ecuadorian media that Quito had made “a rash decision” under outside pressure. 

Shortly after the planned arms transfer was announced, Russia restricted the imports of bananas from Ecuador, citing health violations. The Russian food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor lifted the partial ban on Friday, saying that five Ecuadorian companies were again allowed to ship bananas into the country. 

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