• Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

Ecuador-US Arms Exchange: Russia’s Anger and Economic Retaliation


Feb 11, 2024
Ecuador’s Military Agreement with the USA Sparks Crisis with Russia

In 2023, Ecuador announced its intention to send its Russian weapons, which it deemed obsolete, to the United States in exchange for more modern military equipment. The government of President Daniel Noboa claimed that this move was necessary to strengthen the country’s internal security. However, Russia was not pleased with this decision and accused Quito of violating contracts made at the time of purchasing these weapons and succumbing to pressure from Washington.

Ecuador had begun considering getting rid of its Russian weapons in December 2023 when Noboa first announced his plan to exchange “Ukrainian and Russian scrap” for $200 million in modern equipment from the US. The war artifacts that needed to be handed over included helicopters, rocket launch systems, and anti-aircraft cannons, which were no longer suitable for use according to the government.

Russia’s ambassador in Quito was the first to voice opposition to sending Russian weapons to the United States, arguing that such weapons could 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 has led to negative commercial repercussions for the South American country. In response, Russia decided to impose several measures against the import of Ecuadorian bananas, which Ecuadorian officials see 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 about Russia’s decision, confirming that their products complied with all quality standards required by destination markets. Between January and November 2023, revenue generated by banana exports from Ecuador reached $3.2 billion, with $690 million coming from shipments made to Russian markets alone.

Russia currently represents around 20% of Ecuador’s export destination, and non-oil exports between January and November 2023 totaled around $841 million. As tensions continue to escalate between Ecuador and Russia, there is a growing strain on their relationship.

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