By Sargis Harutunyan and Emil Danielyan
YEREVAN – Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian stressed the importance of a Russian-Armenian agreement on joint manufacturing and maintenance weapons that will reportedly be signed next month.
Ohanian said the agreement will elevate Armenia’s military-technical cooperation with Russia to a “a new level”. The Armenian defense industry will receive a major boost by working with Russian companies “on privileged terms,” he said.
Russian Presiden Vladimir Putin formally authorized his government to sign the accord earlier this week. The Moscow daily Nezevimaya Gazeta cited Russian military sources as saying that it will be signed in early that it will be signed in early February.
The unnamed sources said that the deal envisages the creation of a “joint defense enterprise” that will presumably be based in Armenia. “With the help of the Russian Federation, Armenia’s defense industry is to launch the production of some types of ammunition and armored vehicles as well as to create a joint maintenance facility for weapons of not only ground troops but also air an air-defense forces,” reported the paper.
Armenian Government Confirms Cooperation
The Armenian government likewise revealed in November that the planned agreement commits Armenian and Russian defense companies to supplying each other with equipment, assembly parts and other materials needed for the production, modernization and repair of various arms.
The Russian military base in Armenia by doubling the number of its soldiers serving there on a contractual basis. The independent daily quoted Russian military analysts and linking this with the possibility of a renewed Armenian Azerbaijani war for Nagorno-Karabakh and U.S or Israeli military action against Iran.
“The question of whether or not Russian troops would help to repel an aggression against Armenia is apolitical one,” said Yuri Netkachev, a retired Russian general. “But what is absolutely clear is that our military base there must be combat-ready including for the conduct of peace-keeping operations.”
Netkachev pointed in that regard to Azerbaijan’s growing threats to resolve the Karabakh conflict by force.
A Russian-Armenian defense accord signed in 2010 extended the presence of the Russian base headquartered in Gyumri by 24 years, until 2044. It also committed Moscow to helping Yerevan obtain “modern and compatible weaponry and special military hardware.”