Ecuador’s Military Agreement with USA Sparks Crisis with Russia

Ecuador’s Military Agreement with USA Sparks Crisis with Russia

Ecuador’s Diplomatic Tension with Russia Over Arms Exchange with USA

The Situation

Ecuador is currently dealing with a sensitive diplomatic situation with Russia after announcing its plans to send Russian weapons, deemed obsolete, to the United States. This decision is in exchange for modern military equipment. This move, however, has not been well received by Russia, who has accused Ecuador of violating contracts signed when purchasing these weapons and of succumbing to pressure from Washington.

President Noboa’s Stance

The government of President Daniel Noboa, in office since November of last year, argues that this move is a means of strengthening Ecuador’s internal security, particularly in light of its ongoing battle against organized crime and violence. President Noboa has repeatedly defended Ecuador’s right to transfer these weapons, always maintaining that they are obsolete.

Russia’s Concerns

The Russian ambassador in Quito, Vladimir Sprinchan, has expressed Moscow’s concerns about the weapons transfer. He argues that these weapons, which Noboa dismisses as scrap, may still be in good working order and could potentially be used by Ukraine in their conflict with Russia. He further contends that Ecuador cannot transfer weapons without Moscow’s consent, as specified in their purchase contracts.

Possible Consequences

The diplomatic tension stemming from Ecuador’s arms exchange agreement with the USA seems to have triggered negative commercial repercussions for the South American country. The Russian veterinary surveillance service has imposed several restrictions against the import of Ecuadorian bananas, which some view as a retaliatory measure by Russia.

Economic Impact

Ecuador’s banana exports between January and November 2023 amounted to US$3.2 billion, with US$690 million coming from shipments to Russia. As such, these restrictions could have a significant impact on Ecuador’s economy. Russia is one of Ecuador’s most important trading partners, accounting for around 20% of its export destination. The country’s non-oil exports to Russia from January to November 2023 totaled around US$841 million.