Ecuador is facing a delicate situation in its relations with Russia after openly announcing its intention to send its Russian weapons, considered obsolete, to the United States in exchange for more modern military equipment. The government of President Daniel Noboa claims that the measure is a way of strengthening the country’s internal security. However, the decision did not please the Kremlin, which accuses Quito of violating contracts made with Russia at the time of purchasing these weapons and of giving in to pressure from Washington.
In December 2023, Ecuador began considering getting rid of its Russian weapons. President Noboa stated for the first time in January that he planned to exchange what he called “Ukrainian and Russian scrap” for $200 million in modern equipment from the US. The war artifacts that must be handed over to the US include helicopters, rocket launch systems, and anti-aircraft cannons, and according to the government, are no longer suitable for use.
Russia’s ambassador in Quito was the first to take a stand against sending Russian weapons to the United States, stating that such weapons may still be in good working order and that Ecuador could not transfer war material without Moscow’s consent. The diplomatic tension caused by the arms exchange agreement between Ecuador and the USA appears to be generating negative commercial repercussions for the South American country. The Kremlin decided to impose several measures against the import of Ecuadorian bananas, which the Ecuadorian government sees as a measure of retaliation for Noboa’s decision to hand over the weapons.
Representatives of Ecuadorian banana and flower exporters expressed their surprise and concern with Russia’s decision, confirming that