Russian military base in Armenia launched training for the Tank Biathlon and Suvorov Attack contests

Motorized rifle and tank units of the Russian military base in Armenia started training for the Tank Biathlon and Suvorov Attack contests. More than 50 crews of T-72B tanks and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles are involved in the training.

Currently, tank and IFV drivers are attending exercises at the high-mountain Alagyaz range. They are to improve their skills in overcoming such obstacles as a ford, antitank ditch, comb, track bridge, hill, escarp, passage lane in the mine obstacle, and S-turn.

In course of the training, IFV and tank crews will pass about 1,000 kilometers.

Armenian President to Sputnik: Russian Iskander Missiles Help Balance Situation



Russian Military Technologies's photo.

November 17 – The deployment of Russia’s Iskander missile systems in Armenia was a necessary measure to ensure regional stability, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said. Iskanders were first demonstrated on September 21 at a military parade in Yerevan marking the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s independence. They were reportedly adopted by Armenia’s Armed Forces earlier and were put on combat alert during the escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh in April this year. “I think this [deployment of Iskanders in Armenia] was a necessary measure to somehow balance the military situation in our region,” Sargsyan said. “It is no secret that Azerbaijan has regularly purchased state-of-the-art weaponry in the past few years. We do not have such financial capabilities as Azerbaijan, but we are constantly trying to balance the situation by finding an antidote. I think Iskander is such an antidote in this case,” he said. Azerbaijan’s Armenian-dominated breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh proclaimed its independence in 1991. After the military conflict ended in 1994, Azerbaijan lost control over the region. Violence erupted in Nagorno-Karabakh on April 2, 2016 and led to multiple casualties. The parties to the conflict signed a Russian-brokered ceasefire on April 5, but mutual accusations have not stopped so far. “There is a solution, and we realize that it should be based on compromises, it is not the case when Armenia, Azerbaijan or Karabakh would win,” Sargsyan said. He said Yerevan was ready to resume talks with Baku, but “only on the basis of the three principles,” which include non-use of force, territorial integrity of states and the right of peoples to self-determination. Sargsyan confirmed to Sputnik his readiness to meet with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, if such talks would be useful. “We have never refused any meetings. Whether it is [a meeting] on the presidential, foreign ministerial, even working level. But we always call for these meetings to be useful, bring progress. If there is no progress when we meet, and agreements do not get implemented, what is the benefit of meetings?” Sargsyan said. According to the president, Armenia is ready to sign an agreement on investigation of ceasefire violations in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone “even tonight.” “We want the co-chairs [of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] and the international community to know who is violating the ceasefire regime,” he added. Armenia Recognizes Azerbaijan’s Territorial Integrity Armenia recognizes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, but believes people’s right to self-determination needs to be taken into account in resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, Serzh Sargsyan said. “We recognize the territorial integrity of any state, including Azerbaijan. But people’s self-determination does not contradict in any way the principle of territorial integrity, because territorial integrity concerns relations between countries while self-determination [is related to] the capital and the people that live compactly in the civilized world, all issues are resolved without the use of force, especially in the historical motherland,” Sargsyan said. According to the president, if Armenia rejected the principle of self-determination, then it should not have left the Soviet Union on its basis. “Therefore, these principles do not contradict each other,” he added. No Need to Establish New Russian Military Bases in Armenia There is no need to establish new Russian military bases in Armenia, it would be enough to expand the capacity of the existing one in Gyumri, President Sargsyan told Sputnik. “I do not believe that there is any need in this because the military base is able to take in all elements which may be needed. Therefore, one military base is enough for the small Armenia, it is just necessary to give it military power,” Sargsyan said. The Russian 102nd Military Base is located in the Armenian city of Gyumri. On August 20, 2010, Russia and Armenia agreed to prolong the agreement on the base location until 2044. Armenia Fully Supports Russia’s Actions in Syria Armenia is supportive of Russia’s actions in Syria, President Sargsyan told Sputnik. “We fully support Russia providing help to the Syrian government upon its request. There can be no doubts here. This is a legal right of the Syrian government to ask for help, and Russia’s legal right to provide this help,” Sargsyan said.
According to the president, Yerevan would like to see the Syrian crisis resolved quickly, but it can only be settled by the Syrian people.
“Of course, we would like for this issue to be resolved quickly, however, as I can see, there can hardly be a quick solution. There are 20,000 of our compatriots living [in Syria]. We do not have exact information,” Sargsyan said. Armenian-Turkish Border Can Be Opened Only by Mutual Consent The Armenian-Turkish border can be opened only with the agreement of both sides without any preconditions, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan told Sputnik. “One cannot say that the issue is 50 percent resolved, that is not the case. Nothing depends on us in this respect,” Sargsyan said.
He said that despite tensions in the Armenian-Turkish relations in 2008 Armenia initiated negotiations with Turkey and in 2009 the countries signed protocols on opening the border.
“But unfortunately some time later Turkey turned out not to be ready to ratify these protocols and in fact to establish ties with Armenia without preconditions,” Sargsyan said. The president said that Turkey demanded to exert pressure on Nagorno-Karabakh so that it transferred one of the districts it controlled to Azerbaijan. From Sargsyan’s point of view such preconditions should have been announced before signing the protocols. “After that we have no relations with Turkey,” he added. The Armenian-Turkish relations are negatively influenced by what is recognized as genocide of Armenians by Armenia and some other countries. Around 1.2 million Armenians were killed or starved to death by the Ottoman Empire during and after World War I. Turkey has repeatedly denied accusations of committing mass murder of Armenians, claiming that the victims of the tragedy were both Turks and Armenians.
Armenian President Optimistic About Eurasian Economic Union Membership Almost 2 Years On
Serzh Sargsyan said he never regretted his country’s entry into the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) almost two years ago, in an interview.
Armenia’s accession to the economic bloc of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan came into effect in January 2015, months after Russia was hit by US and EU sanctions over Ukraine. “Armenia’s entry into the EAEU coincided, unfortunately, with post-sanctions economic downturn in Russia, the union’s powerhouse,” Sargsyan said, adding that his country “did the right thing” and “lost nothing.” The fallout from anti-Russia sanctions worsened Armenia’s performance, which has a market of three million people and is tied to the Russian economy “with a thousand strings,” the president said. “By joining the Eurasian Economic Union, we became part of a market of 170 million or even more. As soon as we reach the union’s main goal of streamlining the flow of goods, services, workforce and capital we will win a lot,” he said. The EAEU promotes economic integration of Eurasian countries and tighter cooperation between the bloc and other trade unions. In May 2015, it signed a preferential trade deal with Vietnam, the first such pact with a non-member country. Russian Prime Minister Medvedev said earlier this month a similar deal could be signed with China’s Silk Road Economic Belt. Armenian Exports Rise Almost 50% in 2016 Armenia’s exports have increased nearly 50 percent in 2016, Sargsyan told Sputnik. “We significantly increased exports this year and last year as well. This year, we increased exports by almost 50 percent. Most of it headed for the Eurasian Economic Union, or course. And this fact is very, very important,” Sargsyan said. The South Caucasus country’s relatively small economy has performed well over the past several years despite some members of the Eurasian bloc having gone through economic hardship. Armenian exports increased over 25 percent year-on-year in September after soaring to over $160 million, the highest figure since the all-time peak of over $162 million in 2012, according to the country’s National Statistical Service. GDP growth has also exceeded most other EAEU members. Armenia’s Shift to Parliamentary System to Improve Security Armenia’s planned transfer to a parliamentary republic from the current semi-presidential system will improve the country’s security, President Serzh Sargsyan told Sputnik. The current system allows for a deadlock between the presidential executive authority and the parliamentary majority in case the latter is from a rival political bloc. Vesting political power in the parliament will allow for a more efficient distribution of decision-making in terms of security issues, according to the president. “The [current] constitution says that the president is responsible for the security and the territorial integrity of the country. The president is the commander-in-chief…. The commander-in-chief is tasked with ensuring that the state is working to solve military-political issues. And how could he do that without having the right to spend some of the budget?… So I think that this [parliamentary] form of government will lead to Armenia’s security being better ensured,” Sargsyan said. Armenia plans to change to a parliamentary system between 2017 and 2018 after the 2017 parliamentary election takes place. The election will be the first since Armenians voted to adopt a parliamentary system in a referendum on December 6, 2015. Over 66 percent approved the necessary constitutional amendments.

Heads of Russian and Armenian military departments held negotiations in Yerevan

Heads of Russian and Armenian military departments General of the Army Sergei Shoigu and Seyran Ohanyan have held negotiations in Yerevan.

Russian Defence Minister mentioned that during the meeting the issues of regional security and military and technical cooperation would be discussed.

General of the Army Sergei Shoigu expressed the readiness to discuss additional measures aimed at increasing of the number of Armenian servicemen who studied in the Russian military schools for free.

According to him, the Russian Ministry of Defence has accepted with satisfaction the invitation of the Armenian colleagues to hold bilateral negotiations as well as to participate in the session of the CSTO Defence Ministers Council.

In his turn, Seyran Ohanyan mentioned that the format of such meeting “gives a unique opportunity to discuss the directions of further development of relationships in the military and technical spheres”.

According to his assessment, they are at a very high level.

“In bilateral and multilateral formats, we fulfill all the designated plans. We have good relations with the 102nd Russian military base in Armenia and are planning and carrying out all the joint activities. Relations within CSTO are actively developing,” stressed Seyran Ohanyan.

He also added that in the course of the meeting of the Russian and Armenian delegations on Tuesday, regional security topics would be discussed.

Azerbaijan dismisses reports on setting up Turkish military base in the country

July 21, 10:31 UTC+3 BAKU
Several media reported that a Turkish military base would be established in the territory of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani armed forces

Azerbaijani armed forces

© AP Photo/Osman Karimov

BAKU, July 21. /TASS/. Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry has dismissed reports about establishing a Turkish military base in the territory of the country.

“Media reports about establishing a military base of any foreign state on the territory of Azerbaijan have no grounds and do not correspond to reality,” Deputy Defense Minister Ramiz Takhirov said on Thursday.

Several media reported that a Turkish military base would be established in the territory of Azerbaijan. Last Wednesday, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on adopting an inter-governmental protocol on leasing to Turkey buildings and facilities in the Gyzyl Sharg military town and a terminal at an aerodrome in the Hajji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev village near Baku.

Takhirov said that the aerodrome in Hajji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev has been used since 1999 for transporting Azerbaijani servicemen participating in peacekeeping missions in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan by Turkish Air Force aircraft. “According to the approved protocol, a building located on the territory of the Gyzyl Sharg military town and used since the 1990s was leased to a Turkish military attache in our country. This protocol provides a legal opportunity for those who lease the building to carry out repair and restoration works there,” the deputy defense minister said.


Russia maintains parity in arms supply to Armenia, Azerbaijan — official


MOSCOW, July 19. /TASS/. Russia is committed to maintaining parity in the supply of military equipment to Armenia and Azerbaijan in the conditions of the intensified Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between the two countries, Director of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Alexander Fomin said in an interview to the Izvestia daily published on Monday.

“Conflicts begin regardless of the fact that one side may be armed better than the other,” Fomin said. “However, it is necessary to seek parity, so Russia is taking efforts to maintain parity both in absolute terms and in the quantity and quality of the basic weapons systems”.

Fomin also said that the main purpose of military-technical cooperation is to preserve peace and stability in a given country, in a region and in the world in general. “Russia’s military-technical cooperation system is organized in such a way as to cause no harm, including to a particular region. We make all the decisions on the delivery of arms to one or another country invariably with taking into account such acute regional situations”, he added.

The situation along the line of engagement in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone deteriorated dramatically overnight to April 2 when fierce clashes began. The parties to the conflict accused each other of violating the truce.

On April 5, Azerbaijan’s Chief of Staff Nadjmeddin Sadykov and his Armenian counterpart Yuri Khachaturov met in Moscow with Russia’s mediation. At the talks the sides came to an agreement on cessation of hostilities at the line of engagement between the Azerbaijani and Armenian forces. On the same day, the two countries’ defense ministries announced that the ceasefire regime in Nagorno-Karabakh would start at 12am local time. Since then, the parties to the conflict have been accusing each other of violating the ceasefire agreement.

On May 16, the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Vienna. Serzh Sargsyan and Ilkham Aliyev agreed to “make steps to monitor observance of agreements on ceasefire and introduce a mechanism on investigating incidents.” The participants in the Vienna talks on Nagorno-Karabakh on May 16 that also involved the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents, with mediation of the foreign ministers of the countries co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, the United States, France) reach an agreement on observing the ceasefire in the region in the format of the 1994-1995 agreements. In addition, the conflict sides agreed to complete as soon as possible the work on the OSCE mechanism for investigating incidents at the line of engagement of the conflict sides.

On June 20, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts Serzh Sargsyan and Ilkham Aliyev adopted a trilateral statement where they expressed commitment to the normalization the situation along the engagement line in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said previously that Russia would continue to supply weapons to Azerbaijan and Armenia as its strategic partners under the corresponding contracts.


Armenian Parliament Ratifies Treaty on Joint Air Defense System With Russia

S-400 Air Defense Systems


Armenia’s National Assembly ratified an agreement on Thursday on creating a unified air defense system in the Caucasus region together with Russia.

YEREVAN      A total of 102 out of the parliament’s 131 lawmakers voted in favor of the deal, while eight voted against it.”In peacetime, the sides will be able to make their own decisions on how to use the troops under their control. The sides will need to notify each other of these decisions and actions,” Armenia’s Deputy Defense Minister Ara Nazaryan said presenting the deal.

“Armenia will have a right to use its air defense to the extent and for the purposes it deems necessary,” he underlined.

Azerbaijan to Get New Weapons, Military Equipment Supplies

Azerbaijan soldiers. (File)


Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that Azerbaijan is buying new weapons and other military equipment, local media reported Saturday.

BAKU        The violence in Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azerbaijani breakaway region with a predominantly Armenian population, escalated on April 2. Baku and Yerevan have accused each other of provoking hostilities that led to multiple deaths on both sides. The parties agreed on a ceasefire on April 5.

“We are buying military products from many countries. In other words, we are not dependent on a single source. In this area, as in all other areas, we are going to diversify our way. Of course, we must continue to try and will always try to supply Azerbaijan with the most up-to-date weapons and other military equipment. Azerbaijan has already started importing new types of weapons and other equipment,” Aliyev said, according to the Trend news agency.

According to Aliyev, Azerbaijan is currently in war, so military matters require the most attention.

“The army building will always remain our priority. Azerbaijani army is ready, it is able to perform any task.”

On June 20, Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandyan said that the trilateral meeting between the Armenian, Russian and Azerbaijani leaders on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement was constructive. Prior to the meeting, on June 19,  Aliyev said that Azerbaijan hopes for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh began in 1988, when the autonomous region sought to secede from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, before the latter proclaimed independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The warring sides agreed to a cessation of hostilities in 1994.