Argentina and Russia 1 May 2015

The Argentine President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, used her visit to Moscow in late April to sign various co-operation agreements with Russia following Putin's tour of Latin American countries, including Argentina, last year.  These included a commitment to increase military collaboration but, more particularly, an agreement with Gazprom to explore for and develop shale gas in west central Argentina, where the Vaca Muerta field is estimated to contain large quantities of gas (second only to Chinese reserves).  Argentina has a growing energy deficit and no access to international financial markets following its debt default in 2001. President Putin said that Russia sought a "comprehensive and strategic partnership" with Argentina and repeated Russia's support for Argentine efforts to secure direct talks with the UK on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.

Argentina needs development aid, which it cannot access from the usual international financial institutions; so it has to turn to countries like Russia which, under Putin, is not above stirring the pot over the Falklands. But it remains to be seen whether this will ever translate into a serious threat to the international balance in the South Atlantic.