Russia's foreign ministry condemned the decision of Ecuador to hand over old Russian-made military hardware from its stocks to the U.S. for use in Ukraine, Russian state-controlled news agency RIA Novosti reported on Feb. 2.
Russia has long enjoyed strong influence in Latin America and has launched extensive disinformation campaigns about its war against Ukraine. Ukraine has recently intensified its diplomatic efforts to increase support for Kyiv in the region.
The Ecuadorian government announced last month that it would send what it called "Ukrainian and Russian scrap metal" to the U.S. in exchange for modern equipment worth $200 million, according to Reuters.
Washington reportedly plans to transfer the arms received from Ecuador to Ukraine to help the country in its fight against Russian invading forces.
Maria Zakharova, the Russian foreign ministry's spokeswoman, claimed in a comment for RIA Novosti that Ecuador's decision was a breach of contract between the two countries, adding it was made "under serious pressure from outside stakeholders."
"Our partners are well aware of the provisions of the contracts, which include an obligation to use the supplied equipment for the stated purposes and not to transfer it to a third party without obtaining the relevant agreement of the Russian side," said Zakharova.
Ecuadorian authorities said, as cited by Reuters, that Moscow had previously warned them against handing over the equipment, but they had the right to do it anyway.
President Volodymyr Zelensky met with his Ecuadorian counterpart Daniel Noboa on Dec. 10, 2023, as part of his first official visit to Latin America.
They reportedly discussed the possibilities of developing bilateral cooperation in the security sphere, digitization, and trade of agricultural products.
Zelensky offered Noboa to take part in implementing the Ukrainian peace formula, which calls for a complete withdrawal of Russian troops, among other proposals.