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​Ecuador Considers Sending Old Weapons to Ukraine, russia Bans Banana Imports

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BM-21 Grad on KamAZ chassis in in service with the Ecuadorian Armed Forces / Open source illustrative photo
BM-21 Grad on KamAZ chassis in in service with the Ecuadorian Armed Forces / Open source illustrative photo

What are the prospects of "scrap" helicopters and air defense systems getting from Latin America to Ukraine, and why Moscow chose such a countermeasure

The government of Ecuador is "still studying the issue" of transferring the old Soviet-type weapons from its arsenal to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The items in question are military helicopters, long-range rocket launchers, and air defense systems. Instead, Quito gets weapons of anti-guerilla warfare from the United States totaling $200 million.

Moscow, on the other hand, is opposed to the idea of more weapons reinforcing Ukraine against the russian invasion forces and has prohibited the import of bananas from Ecuador. Apart from that, the russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Ecuador has no right to hand over its Soviet-era military equipment to a third party without permission from the Kremlin, RFI reports.

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Mi-17 of the Air Force of Ecuador
Mi-17 of the Air Force of Ecuador / Illustrative photo credit: Axel J.

The journalists note that russian diplomats have already had "frank" meetings with the Ecuadorian government to coerce them to abandon the idea of handing any equipment to Ukraine through a deal with the U.S. Besides, the ban on bananas is a tangible blow to Ecuador's economy since russia is the second-largest consumer market of this fruit, right after the EU.

Quito, in turn, makes excuses by stating that the military equipment in question is just "scrap" so it's not of such value and that it needs those new vehicles from the U.S. for anti-guerilla operations against drug cartels that have grown to a major threat to the country's security.

On a note from Defense Express, the weapons that Ecuador can offer Ukraine are up to six Mi-17 helicopters and 18 BM-21 Grad multiple launch artillery rocket systems mounted on an atypical longer chassis from KamAZ. As for the air defense systems, those are most likely the Osa-AKM surface-to-air missile systems that Ecuador had bought in Ukraine back in the 1990s. It's not the first time the discussion of sending them back home has been raised publicly.

Osa-AKM air defense system in service with the Ecuadorian Armed Forces
An Osa-AKM air defense system in service with the Ecuadorian Armed Forces / Photo credit: Fuerzas Armadas del Ecuador
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