The Nicaraguan army has put on display one of the 50 BT-72 tanks it says Russia gave the country free of charge.

The arms acquisition had drawn criticism when it was originally made public in April because the tanks purportedly would cost $80 million.

But Gen. Julio Cesar Aviles said Tuesday that the tanks hadn't cost the impoverished Central American nation a dime

Aviles said the tanks came "without conditions of any kind and so our country incurs no debt at all with the acquisition."

The tanks are meant to replace Nicaragua's older T54 and T55 Russian tanks.

Three decades ago, then-President Ronald Reagan used the specter of Russian tanks to plead for funding for the Nicaragua Contra guerrillas who fought the leftist Sandinista government.