Armenian Defense Minister Vagharshak Harutyunyan, about 25 kilometers from the border with Turkey said that the Russian military base located in Gyumri they welcomed the expansion of the growth and scope.
In an interview with Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti, Harutyunyani said, “The issue of the expansion and strengthening of the Russian military base in Armenia has always been on our agenda. The Armenian side has always been open to this, and there is a very simple reason for this. It is used in partnership and cooperation, “he said.
After Armenia gained its independence in 1991, the Russian army established a base in the country in 1995. The agreement, signed for 25 years at the first stage, was extended in 2010, and until 2044, the base was used jointly by Russian and Armenian forces. According to the Russian Interfax news agency, over 3,000 Russian soldiers are on duty at the Gyumri Base and there is a missile defense system.
During the interview, Harutyunyan said that there is no need for a second Russian base to be opened in Armenia, but some Russian troops could be deployed in the Sunic Region between Karabakh and Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic. The Armenian minister also stated that negotiations on this issue between Moscow and Yerevan are continuing.
No statement was made from the Russian Ministry of Defense on the issue.
Sunik is located on the western border of Nagorno-Karabakh, which came under the control of Azerbaijan during the war that started on September 27, and in the southern region, which also borders Iran and Nakhchivan. The region is also on the possible route of the “corridor that will connect Nakhchivan and Azerbaijan” included in the 9 November agreement that ended the war.
An agreement was also reached on the protection of Russian soldiers on this road to be created.
Harutyunyan also announced that the Russian border troops have already started their guard duty at the Azerbaijan-Armenia border.
Although Russia does not have a second base in the country, there is a military air base at Yerevan Airport, which appears to be attached to the Gyumri Base and is home to Russian warplanes and pilots.
RUSSIA PLAYS DIRECTLY
Armenia does not want to be directly dependent on Russia for defense. For this reason, after the 44-day war, which gave great losses to Azerbaijan, the strengthening work under the name of “army reform” started. However, Russia plays an important role in this study.
“Army reform has begun. Our Russian colleagues also play a direct role in this process.”
About a month before Harutyunyan’s statement, between January 25-30, a delegation from the Russian Defense Ministry went to Armenia, “providing consultancy for the modernization and renewal of the Armenian armed forces.”
Recent conflicts with Azerbaijan had a serious impact on this work. According to the Armenian Defense Minister, they pay special attention to the deficiencies of control systems, intelligence, electronic warfare, air defense systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, missiles and artillery observed during the conflicts for modernization.
Harutyunyan says that the protection of the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh, which was under the control of Azerbaijan after the war, is primarily the duty of the Karabakh defense army.
“Of course, there is a lot to be done for the development of the Karabakh defense army in terms of preparation for war and modernization. On the other hand, Armenia continues to be the guarantor of the people in Karabakh. We will never give up this historical mission.
“Thirdly, and most importantly, the Russian military presence in the region, thanks to which we were able to reach a ceasefire agreement, will also prevent a humanitarian disaster. I think that thanks to our joint effort with the Russian Federation, long-term peace can be achieved in the region.”
Source: BBC Turkish
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