Argentine military officials said today scattered skirmishes and exchanges of artillery fire persisted on the Falkland Islands, but they continued to portray British forces surrounding the Argentine garrison at Stanley as weakened and unable to mount an effective offensive.
A report by the Argentine military command early this morning said that Argentine reconnaissance patrols had battled and driven off British infantry units, which left behind equipment as they retreated. The communique also said abandoned British armored vehicles had been found in one area.
Reports from the war zone here also said that poor weather yesterday had curtailed air operations by both sides. Military officials said the Argentine garrison of about 7,000 troops around Stanley was still expecting a British offensive to begin at any time.
These officials continued to maintain, however, that the air power of the task force had been reduced greatly and no longer could support an all-out drive. Argentine accounts have continued to say in recent days that at least one of Britain's two aircraft carriers is out of service.
While the wait for a battle seemed to continue in Buenos Aires, Foreign Minister Nicanor Costa Mendez met again with the Soviet ambassador to Argentina, and government officials continued to encourage reports that Argentina was receiving new supplies of arms from abroad.
The meeting of Costa Mendez with Soviet Ambassador Sergei Striganov at the Foreign Ministry continued a pattern by high-ranking Argentine officials of flaunting their announced willingness to deepen relations with Moscow and the Soviet Bloc. Striganov met with Costa Mendez at the Foreign Ministry two weeks ago, and last week the Soviet envoy was called to a highly visible meeting with President Leopoldo Galtieri at the presidential palace.
After meeting with Costa Mendez, Striganov told reporters that Soviet-Argentine relations were "functioning normally." He added that the Soviets had contracted to buy 4.5 million tons of grain from Argentina this year and would buy several million more tons.
The state news agency Telam said today that Argentina could receive fresh arms supplies from Libya, Peru, Venezuela, Israel and Brazil.
The agency, quoting a military source in Brazil, said that Argentina had received Soviet-made SA7 surface-to-air missiles in recent arms deals, along with Israeli and Italian missiles and Brazilian rockets.
The report said it was possible that Israel would supply Argentina with 22 new A4 Skyhawk fighter-bombers and an equal number of Israeli-made Daggers. Venezuela also was reported to have readied French-made Mirage planes for Argentina.