Russia to Help Armenia Expand its Air Force

Armenia's Air Force

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Russia will help Armenia expand and modernize its relatively small air force within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), top security officials from the two countries said on Thursday.

CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha and Artur Baghdasarian, the secretary of Armenia’s National Security Council, made the announcement after signing a memorandum in Yerevan.

The memorandum deals with the implementation of a recent decision by the presidents of six ex-Soviet states making up the Russian-led military alliance to set up joint army contingents operating under the CSTO aegis. According to Bordyuzha and Baghdasarian, they will comprise not only ground troops but also air force units.

“Collective security forces are being formed in the South Caucasus region where Armenia is the sole CSTO member state. Joint air forces will also be set up here,” explained Baghdasarian.

“Armenia’s air force will be expanded,” he told a joint news conference with Bordyuzha. “Not only the air force but also the air-defense system in general will be modernized and re-equipped. The Russian military base [in Armenia] will also re-equipped. In terms of modernization, 2014 will be a very important year.”

Baghdasarian gave few details of the planned modernization. He said only that an Armenian air force base in Gyumri is likely to be upgraded with the help of the Russian company Vertolety Rossii that manufactures military helicopters.

The Armenian air force mainly consists of several dozen Russian-made Su-25 warplanes and Mi-9 and Mi-25 helicopter gunships operating as part of the country’s air-defense system. Armenia’s airspace is also protected by two dozen MiG-29 fighter jets belonging to the Russian military base.

In recent years, Armenia’s arch-foe Azerbaijan has purchased dozens MiG-29s as well as advanced Russian helicopters as part of a massive military build-up fuelled by its oil revenues. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev again declared on Wednesday that the buildup will eventually enable his country to win back Nagorno-Karabakh.

Commenting on Aliyev’s statements, Bordyuzha warned against attempts to end the Karabakh conflict by force. “There can be no military solution to the Karabakh problem,” he said.

The CSTO secretary general also praised Armenia’s defense capability. “Intensive military-technical cooperation [with Russia] and deliveries of military products as an assistance … allows one to speak of a fairly high degree of security in the Republic of Armenia,” he said.

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14 Comments

  1. Tsayt said:

    Tomorrow Russia would supply Azerbaijan with ultra-advanced anti-aircraft system capable of bringing down the advanced fighters Russia supplies to Armenia.

    Don’t take it personally, it’s business!!!

    • lobo said:

      Yes, totally normal. Don’t be worried. We sell weapons to everyone. Well, not to those Syrian rebels. But that’s because we are genuinely on Assad’s side. Whereas in the Caucasus, we don’t really care. Ideally all of these countries should stay corrupt and on the verge of war.

    • john goncuian said:

      Russia knows very well Azerbeycan government and Azeris hate and blame them for losing the Karabagh war. Russia knows Armenia is the only nation trustable in the region.

  2. Harutik said:

    Unlike our tiny, impoverished, landlocked and blockaded Armenia, Azeris have the petrodollars to buy weapons with and there are many powers willing to sell them what they want. Anyone remember Israel selling them weapons worth more than one billions dollars only two years ago? Anyway, thank you Moscow for your generous help, without which we would not have an Armenia today. God bless Mother Russia. God bless our Hayrenik.

  3. AraK said:

    I don’t trust Russia for ONE iota! Russia is selling to the Azeris for billions dollars worth of weapons and on the other side she telling us “don’t worry we are going to defend you in case of a war”! Give me a break! She is keeping Armenia vulnerable in order to keep Russian forces on Armenian soil. Even a kid can see this!!

  4. Robert K. said:

    As a US taxpayer, how dare Armenia keep demanding more military foreign aid from the US when they are being supplied by Russia with everything!!! I don’t want MY money to go to Armenia under that guise!!! Time to contact my representatives in congress!!!

  5. armenian said:

    the Russians realize that if they don’t guard there southern flank the American’s will obliterate them… there not helping the Armenians.. there covering there own butts.. Armenians only have ourselves.. nobody else.. and we don’t even have ourselves.. because unlike jews who help each other in every aspect… Armenians hurt each other in every aspect… if one day our mind frame changes.. and we stop worrying about our individual wealth and individual family life.. maybe then Armenia can actually become a nation again.. until then it is only a vassal of the Russian empire…

  6. Parsik said:

    Russia has already provided Azerbaijan S-300SMPU2, one of the most powerful anti-aircraft missile systems and the best one to shoot down Russian fighters and cruise missiles, S-300 is in some ways is even better than American Patriots, so this who;e thing obviously shows who started the Karabakh war and who runs the war business in Caucaus!

  7. Armen Grigorian said:

    I think it will be everyone best interest for Mother Russia make Armenia “Russian Top Military Base”

  8. Gurgen said:

    I think you Dashnaks need to stop panicking. Azeris would have used their army against NKR a long time ago if they did not fear Russia. Azeris know Moscow is pro-Armenian and it will remain pro-Armenian as long as Turks and Muslims live in the Caucasus. Azeris can buy weapons from anyone in the world because THEY HAVE THE OIL MONEY TO SPEND. Their largest arms supplier is NOT RUSSIA its Israel and Eastern European countries. On the other hand we Armos DONT HAVE THE MONEY.So my dear Dashnaks we need to be VERY THANKFUL for the weapons Russia provides us FREE OF CHARGE. So my dear Dashnaks either start supplying Armenia with free modern weaponry (with training and parts) or just stop acting silly and stop spreading hate speech about Russia.

    PS: I agree with Armen Grigorian that Armenia needs to turn into Russia’s largest military base. God bless Armenia, God bless Rusia.

  9. Avetis said:

    VERY-VERY well said Gurgen. When the Diaspora puts aside its arrogance and political illiteracy, it may just realize that Armenia CANNOT survive without Russia. Also, Dashnak “nationalists” here need to contact their nearest Russian embassy and thank them for the support Armenia has been receiving for the past twenty years. But let’s also realize that there are no free lunches or soup kitchens in politics. Moscow will do whatever is necessary to keep Armenia dependent on Russia.

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