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Russia loses Ecuadorian bananas amid Putin's fury after Quito-US deal involving Soviet arms

Russia loses Ecuadorian bananas amid Putin's fury after Quito-US deal involving Soviet arms

A worker unloads green bananas. REUTERS/Rubak De Chowdhury/File photoReuters

Russia has banned imports of bananas from Ecuador, just weeks after Quito announced that the United States would ship old Soviet weapons to Ukraine.

In a statement RosselkhoznadzorThe Russian Veterinary and Botanical Inspection Service has “suspended” the accreditation of five Ecuadorian exporters “as of February 5,” the organization says.

The company argues this decision is due to the detection of a destructive pest.

According to Russian media, Nine out of ten bananas imported into Russia come from Ecuador.

The Phytosanitary Service also applied the same dose “until February 9” to some flowers imported from Ecuador to Russia.

These control measures occur after the President of Ecuador. Daniel NobowaIt announced on January 10 that it had accepted a US offer to exchange old Soviet military equipment for new-generation US weapons worth about $200 million.

Washington explained that weapons exchanged with Ecuador would be sent to Ukraine to support its troops. Leading against Russia.

President of Ecuador. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)AP

The bilateral agreement sparked outrage Moscow.

“Such an irresponsible decision was taken by the Ecuadorian side under strong pressure from external stakeholders.”Last week, Russian diplomatic spokeswoman Maria Zharova condemned the attack.

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The spokesman also assured that Ecuador is bound by the treaty “not to transfer (this equipment) to a third party without obtaining the agreement of the Russian side.”

Noboa, who was born in the United States, a few days ago defended Ecuador's right to exchange these weapons as nothing more than “scrap” and promised that Quito would “abide by its agreement in all cases”.

The President of Ecuador spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart in December 2023, Volodymyr ZelenskyDuring the inauguration of the Argentine President Javier M In Buenos Aires.

Since its launch in Ukraine nearly two years ago, Moscow It seeks to strengthen its economic and diplomatic ties with southern countries, especially Latin American and African countries, to avoid Western sanctions.

Ecuador's Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investment and Fisheries told reporters:During this time, high-level meetings are held to allow the country to take a position. It will be communicated as soon as we get the answer,” he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ecuador's Daniel Novoa met in Argentina. (X/Volodymyr Zelensky)

Although Russia has indicated that both suspension and containment are due Phytosanitary reasonsThe actions are seen as retaliation for Nobo's comments, particularly as a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Maria ZakharovaNobova pointed to the Kremlin's irritation at the explanation he gave for his equipment: “If it's scrap metal, as they call it in Ecuador, it will be difficult to propose an exchange for modern equipment to Washington, certainly for a higher sum. We hope that Quito will understand it as such,” the Russian official said. The statements occurred four days after Noboa's.

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The US received Russian equipment and will supply new ones to Ecuador. The valuation of the new equipment is approx USD 200 million.

Zajarova also pointed out: “Such a hasty decision was taken by the Ecuadorian side under intense pressure from interested parties from abroad.”. According to Russian officials, Ecuador cannot supply military equipment to the United States without Moscow's permission.

Last Friday, the Russian Botanical Inspection Agency (Rosseljoznadzor) indicated that the banana export certificates of these five companies would be temporarily suspended. Exports to Russia reportedly contain humpback flies.

The measure adopted by the Putin regime will significantly affect Ecuadorian exporters and therefore the government's profits from these products. Ecuador is the largest banana exporter in the world. It has exported 6.5 million tonnes in 2023 alone. Russia is the second largest importer of Ecuadorian bananas after the European Union.With nearly 23% participation.

(With information from AFP)