Colombia’s foreign minister and his Russian counterpart have made contradicting claims about a possible new arms deal between the two countries.
Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo denied claims made by his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in a joint press conference on Monday that the two parties had discussed a potential arms deal arms.
According to the Russian foreign minister, this new arms deal would add to contracts already in place over equipment maintenance contracts with the Colombian Air Force.
“We discussed… the maintenance of Colombian Air Force equipment we provided in accordance with previous contracts and the prospect of new Russian arms sales,” Lavrov said at the joint press conference.
Trujillo, who has been trying to maintain stable relations with the administration of US President Donald Trump, contradicted his host in a video, making it clear that Colombia’s got no plans to buy Russian weaponry in the near future.
“We did not announce any purchase or Russian weaponry”, Trujillo said.
“It didn’t happen, neither in the private meeting with minister Lavrov”, nor when others were in attendance, or even during the lunch Lavrov graciously provided for the Russian and Colombian delegations.
“It’s just not true”, Colombia’s foreign minister stressed.
While Russia and Colombia have been doing business for years, US sanctions against Russia make it difficult for a close US ally to buy any kind of weaponry from the Kremlin.
According to 2017 figures provided by the Russian entity in charge of arms sales, Rosoboronexport, around 20 MI-17 Russian-made choppers are currently in service in the Colombian Forces.