Russia denied on Monday having an interested in changing the military balance in Latin America or encourage an arms race in the region, with the sale of tanks to Nicaragua.
Alexander Schetinin, the Director of Department of Latin America of the Russian Foreign Ministry, in an interview told Sputnik:
“Russia pursues a responsible policy in Latin America, which is focused on maintenance of good constructive ties and mutually beneficial cooperation with all the states in the region. We value Latin America as a continent of stability and peace. We are not interested in disruption of stability and the existing regional power balance, including in the military sphere.”
In August 2015, Nicaraguan officials announced the intention to purchase 50 of Russia’s T-72 tanks, raising concerns of Costa Rica authorities that the move would result in a militarization of the region.
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In Costa Rica, Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez as President Luis Guillermo Solis, described the buying of tanks by the Nicaraguan government as “inappropriate” and recommended the neighbouring country to focus on the eradication of poverty.
“It is a matter of concern not because of a threat to Costa Rica…but because one country in the Central American region starts an arms race,” Minister Gonzalez said, as quoted by La Prensa newspaper last April.
The contract of the Russian tanks, for US$80 million dollars, is part of the bilateral military-technical cooperation that is to be completed by the end of the year or early 2017, according to the Russian media.
According to Schetinin, the misinformation on alleged Russian threat in Central America is related to the upcoming elections in Nicaragua.
“It seems that someone is eager to influence the mood of Nicaraguans before the vote, saying that the government diverts public resources from social and economic problems, which is not true and step (influence) in the ratio of other Central with the government of Daniel Ortega,” said Schetinin.