Russia Says Azerbaijan Eligible for More Tank Sales

Russian-made tanks, artillery systems and attack helicopters put on display at a military base in Nakhichevan


MOSCOW—Azerbaijan can buy 100 more Russian battle tanks after receiving $1 billion worth of this and other military hardware, Russia’s main government agency overseeing arms deals with foreign states said on Friday.

Konstantin Biryulin, the deputy head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, told the Itar-Tass news agency that Russian defense companies have all but completed the delivery of those offensive weapons, including around 100 T-90 tanks, which began last year.

“We finished the shipment of the entire batch — 100 tanks — about a month ago,” Biryulin said, citing Russian-Azerbaijani defense contracts signed in 2011.

The Russian official went on to reveal that the contracts give Azerbaijan an option to purchase another 100 T-90s. “But the second part has not been contracted yet,” he added.

The Russian arms deliveries to Azerbaijan caused a stir in Armenia after being disclosed by a Moscow newspaper a year ago. The outcry intensified after Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in August that the total volume of defense contracts with the Russians is “measured at $4 billion.”

Armenian politicians, most of them in opposition to President Serzh Sarkisian, and pundits accused Moscow of acting against the spirit of the Russian-Armenian military alliance. Russian security officials dismissed the criticism.

The Armenian government refrained from publicly adding its voice to that criticism. Some of its top representatives implied that the arms sales to Armenia’s arch-foe will be offset by more Russian military assistance to Yerevan.

Armenia’s Defense Ministry on Friday refused to comment on Moscow’s apparent readiness to sell more tanks to Baku. Biryulin’s revelation is certain to spark fresh anti-Russian statements by Armenian opposition groups and the media.

That Russia is ready to sell additional weapons to Azerbaijan was indicated by General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian army’s General Staff, during a visit to Baku last month. Later in April, an aide to the Azerbaijani minister of defense industry expressed hope that Moscow will solidify its status as Azerbaijan’s number one supplier of military equipment.

The Azerbaijani military has received Russian tanks, armored vehicles, artillery systems, attack helicopters and other offensive weapons as part of a massive build-up which Baku hopes will help it regain control over Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenian-controlled districts surrounding it.

Armenia relies heavily on Russia in the intensifying arms race with its oil-rich enemy. A military alliance with Moscow has enabled it to get large quantities of Russian weaponry at knockdown prices or even free of charge.

The closely integrated armed forces of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are not known to have T-90 tanks in their arsenal. The vast majority of several hundred tanks possessed by them are less advanced T-72 models.

A Moscow-based defense think-tank reported last November the Defense Ministry in Yerevan contracted a Polish company in 2012 to modernize 84 Armenian tanks by the end of 2015. Those T-72s are supposed to have stronger dynamic armor, more powerful engines, new machine guns, surveillance cameras and state-of-the-art communication systems. Some defense experts believe that these upgrades will make them analogous to T-90s.

Authors

Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.

21 Comments

  1. Vindicated Man said:

    The tanks are brand new, so Russia controls the operation and maintenance. But it’s a nasty piece of news.

  2. GB said:

    Very shortly Mr. Warlick will give another political speech in favor of Artsakhi Statehood recognition by US federal Government!

  3. Zareh Sahakian said:

    AHHHH,

    Azerbaijan gets 2014 Toyota Camrys, Armenia pimps its 1972 Toyata Corollas, and they’re supposed to be analogous to each other.

    Don’t we LOVE our Russian “friends”.

    • Armenian said:

      Yes! Never question Russia– anyone who questions Russia is a traitor and wants to see Armenia destroyed– in fact, don’t question anything. Don’t even think. Let’s just defer everything to Russia. We will be safer this way.

  4. Armenian said:

    Dear Russia,

    Please continue spitting on me and slapping me every chance you get. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to remain hydrated by supplying me with your never ending stream of bodily fluids, and thank you for reminding me what it feels like to have human interaction a la your palms keeping both sides of my face nice and red. I live through you, and all Armenians should be thankful for you, for you have kept all of us safe for the past twenty years by arming our enemies to the bone, and becoming their number one supplier of weaponry. Thank you for using this conflict for your own purposes all the while depriving me of my European choice, sovereignty, and for tarnishing my reputation around the world by helping others see me as a volatile and “unreliable” partner in international affairs. Thank you for demanding that I ditch the EU so that you can keep me waiting on joining an “economic” union that I will eventually never be apart of. As an Armenian nationalist and patriot, I promise to love you no matter what the cost, and no matter how much misery you directly and indirectly inflict onto me for I and my kin are too frightened to seek other alternatives, too spineless to assert myself and stand up for my interests, and too disinterested in my long-term well being to get my own house in order. Thank you for helping me see the real dangers in my own backyard: the gays, who demand basic and humane treatment in society, the women’s rights activists, who want to destroy Armenia by suggesting that men should not be able to abuse and sometimes even kill their own wives and get away with it, and the pro-Europeans and how they (and not your ruthless brand of fascism, authoritarianism and corruption) are a threat to me and my future. Thank you for ensuring that my future changes as little as possible, and thank you for giving me a chance to exist in the most minimal sense of the word.

    God Bless Mother Russia, and the Russo-Armenian alliance, and protect it from all logical individuals both in Armenia and around the world.

    • armenian christian said:

      An armenians only friend is another armenian…

  5. Tony said:

    It seems Mr. Putin is out to get Armenia endangered by Azerbaijan. It will benefit Moscow to keep Armenia in its control and influence for decades to come. Perhaps, one day, the Oligarchs in the Russian government will permit and give the green light to Azerbaijani dictator for a military adventure against Armenians in Artsakh and Armenia with those Russian advanced and heavy weapons out to destroy everything on its way to Yerevan.
    Ouch…Do you call this kind of government in Moscow as an Ally and a Friend to Armenians??
    What say you?

  6. Hratch said:

    Either Russia has an ulterior motive and wants more concessions from Armenia or it wants to ignite a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan whereby covertly help Armenia destroy Azerbaijan’s recently purchased military hardware. Russia can walk away with the billions while Azerbaijan is weakened and begging to purchase more weapons……I’d expect anything from Russia these days.

  7. Hratch said:

    Russian plan can also be designed to weaken Armenia enough that we will be obliged to become an oblast of the Russian Federation. This will be beneficial to Russia in that it will have a permanent presence in the southern Caucasus and never again fear the loss of their influence in the region.

    • armenian christian said:

      They already have it they saved us from the turks in 94…they need us to protect there soft underbelly

  8. armenian christian said:

    We need the Merkava or maybe the Abrams….the russian are good at missles tanks are garbage.

  9. GeorgeMardig said:

    We shoud thank Azerbaijan for finacing Armenia’s purchase of Russian Arms at a discount

  10. GeorgeMardig said:

    We shoud thank Azerbaijan for finacing Armenia’s purchase of Russian Arms at a discount

  11. edward demian said:

    The Iraq war showed that Tanks are absolete in certain circumstances.. In one battle, the Americans destroyed All of Sadam Husseins tanks. Now days, one man behind a bush, can direct pinpoint missile strikes from elsewhere safely out of sight and range. Tanks perform well in good weather and flat battlefields, But in the mountains, in muddy situations, they are like sitting ducks. They have to be defended by infantry. I don’t worry about their military buildup. It is just a cover for theft on a grander scale. A billion dollars in arms in that part of the world, translates into, huge graft. Only a fraction of that will actually be deliverred. The bigger share lining the pockets of those in that food chain. Azerbaijiany leadership cannot afford to make peace. If they do, they risk being exposed to the population.

  12. Sokimag said:

    Russia is showing us again that it can’t be trusted. How can any intelligent Armenian defend that? How about we, Armenians, support Ukraine territorial integrity? How would Russia react if Armenia did that? Russia would consider Armenia as a traitor, but if Russia sells weapons to Azerbaijan, we must accept it. That’s their backward logic.

    Russia cannot expect Armenia to remain loyal to Russia if it continues in this path of supporting Azerbaijan. Armenia recognized Crimea, what do we get in return from Russia? Nothing. Russia has not yet recognized the independence of Artsakh.

    • Armenian said:

      And it never will. How else can it profit politically and economically from this conflict? Most Armenians don’t realize that, and therefore, they emphatically support Russia no matter what. It’s almost like a self-deprecating attitude towards our own existence.

  13. Long-range Strategy said:

    This is a calculated move by the Russian leadership. By supplying Aliev’s regime with more arms, they will increase Aliev’s hubris to attack Armenia, which is protected by joint Russian and Armenian troops. As soon as Azerbaijan attacks Armenia or Karabagh, Armenian air forces will destroy the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline, thereby eliminating Russia’s major competitor in the sale of oil and gas to European markets. Putin knows Aliev only too well.

  14. Dino said:

    The Russians don’t care where the line is drawn between Armenia and so called azerbaijan. If azerbaijan gives Russia everything it wants there will be no Armenia. Regardless, Armenia’s days are number as are the other countries of Western Civilization. Islam will dominate the world and our progeny will long for the darkest days of the Dark Ages.

*

Top