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You're reading: Russia, Ecuador sign deals on arms, energy

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has hailed arms and energy deals with Ecuador as just a beginning as Moscow continues it drive to deepen ties in South America.

Medvedev and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa signed a $22 million deal in Moscow on Thursday that sees Russia provide Ecuador with two Mi-17 transport helicopters. Other energy and trade agreements were also signed.

The Kremlin has recently sought to renew Communist-era ties with Latin America.

Some see the flurry of activity as a response to U.S. support to pro-Western Georgia and Ukraine.

Russia has signed multibillion weapons contracts with Venezuela. In December, Moscow also dispatched three warships to Venezuela, Panama and Cuba for the first time since the Cold War.

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