February 29, 2024 12:01 am

Moscow urges Buenos Aires to remain neutral on Ukraine — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union

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Giving Russian helicopters to Kiev would violate the terms of their purchase, the country’s ambassador to Argentina has warned

Moscow objects to the idea floated by the Argentine military that the country’s new administration could donate two Russian helicopters to Kiev as a gesture of goodwill to the US, Ambassador Dmitry Feoktistov told journalists on Thursday.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky attended the inauguration ceremony of President Javier Milei in person earlier this month. Local media claimed that to mark the event, the country’s air force planned to provide Kiev with two Mi171E helicopters which were purchased from Russia in 2011. Washington had asked for the donation and promised to cover its cost, but the previous government declined, reports said.

“Traditionally Argentina has maintained a neutral position on the issue of the delivery of weapons and military vehicles to conflict zones, including Ukraine,” the Russian ambassador noted. Moscow has signaled to the Milei administration that it believes it is important for Buenos Aires to keep the policy in place, he said.

Argentine media said the two rotorcraft were originally purchased for transport, search and rescue missions and operations in the Antarctic. Neither are currently airworthy and both require an overhaul. Repairs were reportedly delayed due to a lack of funding and sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and its allies.

Milei, a libertarian economist who was elected on a promise of radical reforms that would foster growth in the inflation-ridden nation has expressed an intention to align Argentina with the US, potentially even pegging the national currency to the dollar.

Feoktistov noted that the new government had refused to officially comment on the proposed helicopter donation. If such a plan were to be implemented, Argentina would violate international obligations under the initial purchase deal, the diplomat added.

Contracts for the export of major pieces of military hardware normally include terms that give the seller control over any possible re-export. Moscow “categorically objects” to the proposal to send the helicopters “to Russia’s enemies,” the ambassador stressed.

Washington has reportedly offered to deduct the value of the Russian aircraft from the price of the F-16 fighter jets which Argentina seeks to purchase. Such a move would also be appreciated in Washington due to its symbolic nature, placing the Latin American nation on the side of Kiev and its Western backers in the conflict, media noted.

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Original Source: Moscow urges Buenos Aires to remain neutral on Ukraine — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union

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