Russia is flexing its muscles in Central America (Source Yahoo News) A Serbian MiG-29 Russia has once again started to flex its muscles in a bid to rebuild its influence in the Central American state of Nicaragua, McClatchy DC reports. Moscow may strike a possible arms deal with Nicaragua that would provide the Central American country with fighter jets. Although details of the deal have not been revealed, there are rumors in local papers from both countries that suggest that Russia could provide MiG-29 fighter aircraft. Nicaragua has said that it needs the fighters to help fight the drug trade. However, the US and neighboring states are concerned that the arms deal is a way for Russia to make its presence felt in a region close to the US in retribution for what Moscow perceives as Western meddling in Ukraine and the Baltics.
“One doesn’t combat drug trafficking with that kind of heavy military equipment for fighting wars,” Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel González said in late February. McClatchy notes that Nicaragua’s possible acquisition would create “an imbalance for the region,” according to a former armed forces commander in Honduras. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will arrive in Nicaragua this week. In February, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu paid a two-day visit to the country and touted a new topographic center set up by Russian specialists. “We hope that the center will make a significant contribution to improving the combat capabilities of units and formations of the army of Nicaragua, which will benefit the Nicaraguan people,” Shoigu said at the opening ceremony.