Armenian Troops Take Part in NATO Drills

U.S. Ambassador Richard Mills shakes hands of Armenian soldiers boarding a U.S. military transport plane. April 3, 2015. (Photo: official publication)

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Underscoring increased U.S.-Armenian military cooperation, an Armenian army platoon has joined thousands of soldiers from NATO member states, including Turkey, in conducting fresh U.S.-led exercises in Europe.

The 36 soldiers of a special Armenian peacekeeping brigade flew to Germany for that purpose late last week following a send-off ceremony attended by Richard Mills, the U.S. ambassador to Armenia. Mills shook the soldiers’ hands as they boarded a U.S. military transport plane at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport.

The Saber Junction 15 exercises organized by the U.S. Army in Europe have brought together more than 5,000 soldiers from 15 NATO members as well as Sweden, Armenia, Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They will take place in Germany, Lithuania and Romania until April 30.

“Saber Junction 15 prepares NATO and partner-nation armies for offensive, defensive and stability operations and promotes interoperability among participants,” the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan explained in a statement released on Monday. The drills are specifically designed to “train a brigade-level unit to operate with allied and partner nations as part of a combined force,” it said.

“The joint Armenian-U.S. exercise is underwritten by a Memorandum of Understanding between the Armenian Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Army in Europe,” added the statement.

The Armenian Defense Ministry issued no statements on the participation of its troops in Saber Junction.

Armenian soldiers reportedly took part in five U.S.-led military exercises last year. One of the drills took place in March 2014 at the U.S. Army’s Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo where some 35 Armenian troops have been serving under U.S. command as part of KFOR, a NATO-led multinational force.

The Armenian military has increasingly participated in such exercises over the past decade in line with Yerevan’s Individual Partnership Action Plan with NATO. The cooperation framework commits Armenia to contributing troops to NATO-led missions and implementing defense reforms meant to bring its armed forces into greater conformity with NATO standards.

As part of those reforms, U.S. military instructors have been helping the Armenian army increase the number of its non-commissioned officers serving on a contractual basis. About 50 Armenian sergeants underwent a weeklong U.S. training course near Yerevan in February 2014.


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.


  1. State-Of-Emergency said:

    We must prepare ourselves for any and all eventualities. Putting all our eggs into one basket and then having that basket held by Russia is not the most prudent thing.

    God protect Armenia against all enemies, foreign and domestic!

  2. Norin said:

    Why is this necessary? Flip flopping and standing in the middle is not healthy for our people, this must stop.

    • State-Of-Emergency said:

      This is after the fact. Russia sold those weapons last year!

  3. arziv said:

    Why are we doing drills with NATO ? What do we get in exchange from NATO ? Turkey is a NATO partner, Nato will share information about Armenian drills and troops logistics with Turkey. Nato will not share information about Turkey’s armed forces with Armenia. What is Armenia’s game ? It is an enigma wrapped in a riddle ? I am utterly bemused that the Russians do not raise their eyebrow to this. Or maybe it is Armenia whio is gathering information about Nato drills ? , which is very good, because ultimately NATO is Armenia’s enemy. A friend of my enemy is my enemy. Turkey+Nato= enemy of Armenia. ,

  4. Harutik said:

    The Armenian state lives today because of its close ties with Russia… yet Armenian troops join Western troops (including Turkish and Azeri) to carry-out anti-Russian military drills?!?!?! Armenian style politics at its best!!! And Yerevan has been doing this for many years, and we have the balls to complain about Russians selling arms to Azeris!?!?!?

    It is well known that venues such as this are also places where Western intelligence recruits agents. So, I have no doubts that Armenia’s military apparatus today contains Western agents. Armenians are like troubled children that require a spanking from time to time to make them behave. I hope Moscow can put an end to this self-destructive behavior by Yerevan.