YEREVAN – The Armenian government is planning around $2.5 billion worth of additional defense spending over the next five years, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Thursday, August 13, according to Radio free Europe.
Strengthening Armenia’s armed forces will be one of the government’s chief priorities, Pashinyan said at the first cabinet meeting held since his My Step bloc’s landslide victory in the December 9th parliamentary elections. “Over the next five years we must be able to invest around $2.5 billion in the development of the armed forces,” he told ministers. “We must work very hard towards raising very hard towards raising that sum. I’m talking about additional funding, a part of which should be spend on improving the economic plight of military personnel.”
Pashinyan did not specify potential sources of the extra defense spending that would be equivalent to nearly three quarters of Armenia’s entire state budget for next year.
The 2019 budget calls for a 25 percent which would total 309 billion drams ($638 million). The Armenia defense budget is project to increase by 18 percent this year, reflecting a continuing a continuing arms race with Azerbaijan.