Ecuador backtracks on plan to send weapons to Ukraine

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Gabriela Sommerfeld, clarified on Monday that the country has no intention of sending Soviet-era weapons to Ukraine, following President Daniel Noboa’s earlier announcement. Noboa had declared plans to exchange outdated Russian military equipment for new US weapons, valued at around $200 million. This exchange aimed to enhance Ecuador’s capabilities against drug trafficking gangs. However, Sommerfeld emphasized Ecuador’s stance of not supplying war material to nations involved in international armed conflicts. The proposed weapons, including helicopters and rocket launchers, were intended to be sent from Ecuador to the US, and then forwarded to Ukraine. Moscow strongly criticized this decision, labeling it as “reckless,” and responded by imposing a ban on certain Ecuadorian banana and flower imports, citing pest concerns. Nevertheless, Ecuador’s Trade Minister, Sonsoles Garcia, reported on Friday that Russia had lifted the embargo on five banana exporting companies. This development is crucial for Ecuador, being the world’s leading banana exporter and a significant flower exporter, particularly of roses. Notably, Russia heavily relies on Ecuador for bananas, with nine out of ten imported bananas coming from the country, as reported by Russian media.

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