Nicaraguan Army confirms buying Russian tanks and weapons
HAVANA TIMES — The Nicaraguan Army confirmed that the country acquired a considerable lot of military equipment and weaponry from Russia, among them T-721B1 tanks, as part of a plan to “modernize” the military institution, reported dpa news.
La Prensa newspaper quoted statements by military spokesman Col. Manuel Guevara, who was asked about a report by the Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade released Monday by the RIA Novosti news agency.
“I don’t have the quantity and the amount to be paid, but I can affirm that under the plan of modernization and development of the Nicaraguan Army it has sought to renovate equipment that has given its operational life,” said Guevara.
The Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade revealed that Nicaragua will receive a total of 50 Russian T-721B1 tanks. Although the price of the tanks is unknown, the Russian agency said there is a contract for 80 million dollars to be met by the end of this year or early 2017.
“Russia is beginning to fulfill the contract to supply Nicaragua with 50 modernized tanks in the framework of bilateral military-technical cooperation. The first batch of 20 are ready for shipment,” said RIA Novosti, noting that the information has not been confirmed by the Russian Defense Ministry.
RIA Novosti recalled that Moscow provided Nicaragua with twelve ZU-23-2 air defense systems in 2014, a lot of GAZ-2330 Tigr armored vehicles in 2012 and two Mi-17V-5 helicopters in 2009.
In addition, Nicaragua asked Russia to sell it four patrol boats in 2013 and has two rocket-launchers under contract, he said.
According to the Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade, all prerequisites are in place for the expansion of military-technical cooperation between Russia and Nicaragua, particularly in air defense and the supply of training aircraft known as Yak-130.
The former Soviet Union actively supported Nicaragua with weapons and military equipment during the Sandinista revolution (1979-1990). In 2007, after the return of President Daniel Ortega to power, Russia and Nicaragua reestablished relations.