Russia has imposed a ban on Ecuadorian bananas, saying that they have found a plant disease in recent shipments. Ecuador, under its new President, the Miami-born Daniel Noboa, an heir to a banana fortune, last month shipped a cache of Soviet arms to the United States for $200 million. The arms had been given to Ecuador by the Soviet Union, and therefore could not be given to a third party without Russian consent. Noboa skirted the law by labeling the equipment as “scrap.” The U.S. said that the equipment would be sent to Ukraine. Noboa had apparently spoken with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the matter when they met at the inauguration of Javier Milei in Buenos Aires.
Russia has suspended business with five Ecuadorian companies that export bananas. Almost 80% of Russia’s bananas came from Ecuador. Russia has now shifted to importing bananas from India. Russia has also stopped the import of flowers from Ecuador. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova had characterized Ecuador’s decision as “a reckless decision under serious pressure from external interested parties.”