MEXICO CITY -- President Daniel Ortega authorized Russian troops, planes, and ships to be deployed to Nicaragua to train, enforce law, or respond to emergencies.
This week's decree, which was confirmed by Russia on Thursday, allows Ortega to allow Russian troops to perform law enforcement duties and "humanitarian assistance, rescue, and search missions in emergency situations or natural disasters."
For "exchange of experience and training," the Nicaraguan government authorized small Russian contingents to be present.
Maria Zakharova (Russia's foreign ministry spokesperson) told Sputnik the measure was routine.
Zakharova stated that they were discussing a routine, twice a year, procedure for the adoption Nicaraguan laws on temporary admission of foreign military personnel onto its territory. This is in order to foster cooperation in different areas including humanitarian and emergency response, fighting organized crime, and drug trafficking.
She pointed out that the law also allows troops from the United States, Mexico, and other Central American countries to be used for these purposes.
Since his time as the leader of the 1979 revolution which overthrew dictator AnastasioSomoza, Ortega has been a loyal ally of Russia. Ortega was president from 1985 to 1990 before being reelected in 2007.
In the months leading up to Ortega's re-election, dozens of political opponents were arrested by Ortega's government, including the majority of potential presidential candidates. His government shut down dozens nongovernmental organizations he claims are working for foreign interests. Tens of thousands Nicaraguans have been exiled.
This story was originally published on June 9. The headline has been corrected to correct the spelling of Nicaragua.