Quito, Jan 30 (EFE).-
Ecuador’s President Daniel Noboa said Tuesday that the military equipment bought from Russia that his country is going to send to the United States is “scrap” and stressed that he is not breaking diplomatic ties with Russia.
Ecuador is exchanging some unspecified old Russian military equipment for new US equipment to be used for the country’s internal security, in a move that Russia has called “unfriendly.”
“They (Russia) claim that it is war equipment, but we have proven that it is junk. And according to international agreements, war equipment cannot be transported in this way, but this kind of scrap can,” Noboa said in an interview with local television station Ecuavisa.
“We are not going to break relations with Russia. I believe that the position they are taking is not an appropriate position, because we are also experiencing a war here,” the president added.
Last week, Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, Gabriela Sommerfeld, said the equipment to be replaced was purchased from Russia and was no longer operational.
US support for Ecuador’s internal security has facilitated the delivery of more than 20,000 bulletproof vests and the donation of more than $1 million in critical security and emergency response equipment, including ambulances and logistical defense support vehicles.
The US also announced that the FBI will be increasing its personnel in the country in the coming days to assist the National Police and the Attorney General’s Office.
On Jan. 11, Russia warned Ecuador against sending any Russian weapons to the US, according to the Russian ambassador in Quito, Vladimir Sprinchan.
“We are checking this information. But we are conveying to the Ecuadorian authorities Russia’s position that the Americans do not need such equipment, especially since they call it junk,” the diplomat said.
Sprinchan claimed that Russian military equipment “is needed by those who know how to use it”.
“We warned the authorities that this would be an unfriendly move,” he said.
Last week, Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, Gabriela Sommerfeld, said the equipment to be exchanged had been purchased from Russia and was no longer functioning.
“This equipment was not operational, and (therefore) Ecuador can write it off, sell it, give it away, or exchange it,” Sommerfeld said.
The minister pointed out that this is “a legal mechanism” used in different parts of the world and “it does not violate any regulation, it is not illegal.”
The list of equipment that will be sent to the US will be defined by the Ministry of Defense, she said, stressing that “it is an ongoing process”. EFE