Ecuador confirms it will not ship Soviet-era military equipment to the U.S.

Feb 20, 2024 | 0 comments

Foreign Minister Gabriela Sommerfeld confirmed Monday that Ecuador will not send Soviet-era military equipment to the U.S. since it could be used in Ukraine against Russian troops. The announcement is a reversal of a January plan to trade the equipment for $200 million in new equipment from the U.S.

Foreign Minister Gabriela Sommerfeld

Ecuador’s decision was announced Friday by Russian Ambassador to Ecuador Vladimir Sprichan and the Russian media.

“After an analysis, we verify that our position is to refrain from sending any type of weapons to countries involved in international armed conflicts.” Sommerfeld said. “The decision is based on our commitment to respect international law and to support the peaceful resolution of disputes, as established by its membership in the United Nations Security Council.”

During her appearance before the National Assembly Transparency Commission, Sommerfeld said the government respects the concerns of the Russian government that the equipment donated to Ecuador 20 years ago could be used against Russian troops in the Russia-Ukraine war. “We cannot rule out this possibility, so we are changing our position regarding sending the armaments to the U.S.”

In response to a question, Sommerfeld admitted that the government was originally unaware of an agreement between Ecuador and Russia not to transfer the equipment to a third party.

Although Sommerfeld said that Ecuador’s armed forces is no longer labeling the Soviet equipment as “scrap metal,” a source in the Foreign Ministry says Russian embassy personnel will inspect some of the equipment at a military warehouse in Guayaquil. “The equipment is not operational and an army official will show the Russians the exchange of messages in which a Russian army commander said the equipment was no longer manufactured and spare parts were unavailable,” the unnamed source told Ecuavisa. “The Russian commander advised that the equipment be warehoused since it was no longer useful.”

The source added that private conversations between Sprichan and U.S. Ambassador Michael Fitzpatrick played a major role in the decision not to send the equipment to the U.S. “The U.S. was not aware of the agreement between Ecuador and Russia regarding the equipment and did not want to complicate its assistance to the government. The U.S. remains committed to supporting Ecuador in the fight against narco terrorists and this was made clear in Friday’s meetings.”

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