Russia began to provide Armenia with new weapons in accordance with defense contracts of several million dollars signed by the two allied nations, announced yesterday the Minister of Defense, Seyran Ohanian.
The Armenian government could pay with a loan of $ 200 million that Moscow had allocated a year ago.
The government had decided to accelerate the implementation of the agreement following the war four days in early April to Nagorno-Karabakh. It instructed the Armenian Ministry of Defense to quickly negotiate supply contracts with the relevant Russian government agencies.
“Almost all contracts have been signed and interstate procedures for their implementation have been completed,” said Ohanian reporters after inspecting the Armenian troops along the heavily militarized border with Azerbaijan.
“With the existing instruments and under the agreements concluded in the past, imports of Russian weapons are currently underway,” he said when he was in the Tavush region.
In late June, two relatives of Ohanian had traveled to Moscow for talks with senior officials of the Ministry of the Russian Defence, as well as members of the Russian government agency in charge of arms deals with foreign states, Rosoboronexport.
Ohanian did not specify the types or quantities of weapons that Armenia will buy the Russians, with prices set well below the international market level.
In February, Moscow issued a long list of Russian-made weapons that can be purchased for $ 200 million. It includes the multiple launch rocket system Smerch, the heavy rocket system thermobaric TOS-1A, anti-tank weapons and surface to air missiles to the shoulder.
In recent years, Russia has sold 18 Smerch launchers and many TOS-1A systems to Azerbaijan and more than 100 T-90 tanks, more than 30 combat helicopters and other offensive weapons. Deliveries of Russian arms to the enemy state of Armenia, worth at least $ 4 billion, came from contracts signed in 2010-2011.
Armenian leaders have intensified their criticism of Russian arms sales to Baku in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in April. The Russians have rejected these remarks, justifying that they supplied arms to Armenia and Azerbaijan in order to maintain “military balance” in the conflict. The Russian ambassador in Azerbaijan said last month that Moscow intends to sign new defense contracts with Baku.
Ohanian defended yesterday the military alliance between Armenia and Russia, insisting that the latter would defend the state of the South Caucasus in the case of “aggression” foreign.
Moscow and Yerevan have also negotiated last year the delivery of Russian Iskander missiles in the Armenian army. With a firing range of up to 500 kilometers, the sophisticated systems would make oil and gas infrastructure in Azerbaijan even more vulnerable to the Armenian missile strikes in the event of a large-scale war in Karabakh.
A general in the Armenian army had claimed in April that Armenia already had such missiles in its military arsenal. He had no official confirmation.
Claire © armenews.com