Niacaragua allows entry of Russian troops, planes, ships

The government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has authorized Russian troops, planes and ships to deploy in Nicaragua for training, law enforcement or emergency response

MEXICO CITY — The government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has authorized Russian troops, planes and ships to go to Nicaragua for training, law enforcement or emergency relief.

In a decision published this week and confirmed by Russia on Thursday, Ortega will allow Russian troops to carry out law enforcement duties, “humanitarian aid, rescue and search missions in emergencies or natural disasters”.

The Nicaraguan government also authorized the presence of small contingents of Russian troops for “exchange of experience and training”.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Russian news channel Sputnik that the measure was “routine”.

“We are talking about a routine – twice a year – procedure for the adoption of a Nicaraguan law on the temporary admission of foreign military personnel to its territory in order to develop cooperation in various fields, including humanitarian and emergency relief, combating organized crime and drug trafficking,” Zakharova said.

She noted that the law also allows troops from the United States, Mexico and other Central American countries for such purposes.

Ortega has been a staunch ally of Russia since his days as leader of the 1979 revolution that ousted dictator Anastasio Somoza. Ortega was president from 1985 to 1990, before being re-elected to power in 2007.

Ortega’s government arrested dozens of opposition political leaders, including most potential presidential candidates, in the months before his reelection for a fourth consecutive term last year. His government has shut down dozens of non-governmental groups that he accuses of working on behalf of foreign interests to destabilize his government. Tens of thousands of Nicaraguans have been driven into exile.

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