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Ambassador of Russia in Nicaragua, Alexander Khokhólikov. Photo: Courtesy.

Russian Ambassador in Managua says sanctions strengthen relationship with its “strategic partner” in the region

The ambassador downplayed the impact of US sanctions and assured that they do not affect Russia's cooperation with Nicaragua

Through a statement disseminated in media outlets of the Ortega regime, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Nicaragua, Alexander Khokhólikov, described the sanctions imposed by the United States against the Training Center of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia in Managua as a provocation.

On May 15th, in a joint action, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Department of the Treasury, the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security of the United States published a set of sanctions targeting the Training Center of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia in Managua, and two mining companies, and also issued visa restrictions for officials loyal to the regime, as well as a warning to the travel companies that facilitate migrants seeking to reach the US taking advantage of the Ortega regime policy that has turned Nicaragua into a “springboard” for illegal immigrants.

“I would like to point out that these are not the first provocative attacks against Russian missions in Nicaragua, aimed at discrediting them and damaging their prestige, which, however, does not affect the effectiveness of their work,” noted the Russian diplomat.

The police training center was inaugurated in 2017. Photo taken from social media.

Minimizes impact of sanctions

Khokhólikov downplayed the impact of the United States sanctions against the Training Center and assured that these measures do not affect the performance of Russia’s cooperation with Nicaragua.

“I would like to point out that the Russian Federation and the Republic of Nicaragua have maintained a fruitful cooperation in a wide range of areas for a long time. This cooperation is developing dynamically, despite the numerous illegal unilateral sanctions imposed against our countries, including the recent restrictions imposed on the Managua Training Center,” he stated.

According to information from the Department of the Treasury, the Russian training center “is a subdivision based in Nicaragua of the Ministry of the Interior of the Government of the Russian Federation” and is dedicated to training officials of the Ortega regime “under the manual of oppression of the authoritarian Russian government.”

“I am convinced that such measures will only serve to strengthen and intensify our cooperation with this brotherly Central American country, a strategic partner of Russia in the region,” emphasized Khokhólikov.

Furthermore, he referred to the US measures, according to him, as opportunistic, linked to the internal political processes of the North American country on the eve of the presidential elections.

“(Russia) is a key actor in the repression of civil society by the Nicaraguan regime and in the unjust detention and imprisonment of individuals for expressing dissent or peacefully exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the sanctions document states.

OFAC pointed out that Nicaragua is “one of Russia’s main partners in Central America.” Within these agreements signed, the Russian training center was established in Managua, where Putin’s officials have trained members of the Police, “which has allowed for the brutal repressive tactics of the regime.”

Russia does not specify what type of support it will intensify with Nicaragua following the sanctions

Nicaraguan activist and opposition figure, Enrique Martínez, believes that the US sanction on the Russian Training Center in Managua, considered a spy center, affects the interests of the Ortega dictatorship and limits Russia’s control in the Central American region.

“Another point is the confrontational message from Russia to the United States with the announcement that they will intensify collaboration with Nicaragua, leaving open what type of support, actions, or tactics will be executed to the detriment of the United States, which we could see in the coming months,” Martínez told LA PRENSA.

In his view, the Training Center of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia in Managua is a space for training to strengthen corruption and internal and transnational repression against dissenting voices.

“And I would dare to assert that it is a center that has harmed democratic values in some countries that Russia considers relevant,” he noted.

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