Kocharian Attends Military Exercises

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Tactical exercises for the command of armed forces of Armenia and the 102nd Russian military unit stationed in Armenia took place in Armenia on August 14-18. The 545th motorized regiment of the 5th corps of the armed forces of Armenia took part in the exercises. Lieutenant-General Mikael Haroutiunian–the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Armenia–said the exercises were a continuation of the Armenian-Russian joint command and staff exercises and were held in three stages: putting the regiment on high alert–a march to the area of concentration–and fulfillment of the combat task. Deputy Minister of Defense Major-General Manvel Grigorian commanded the exercise.

During the last stage–on August 18–President Robert Kocharian–the Commander-in-Chief of the Armenian Armed Forces–Defense Minister Serge Sargsian–the military attaches of the embassies of Greece–Iran–China–Russia and the United States watched the course of the exercises.

During the exercises–the forces of the 545th motorized regiment stopped the offensive of the conventional enemy in the direction of Ashnak-Arax-Armavir and then–the aviators helped the Armed Forces of Armenia push the enemy outside the republic.

Following the exercises–Robert Kocharian awarded gifts to those who distinguished themselves during the war games.

President Robert Kocharian–Defense Minister Serge Sargsian–and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Armenia Mikael Haroutiunian expressed satisfaction with the course of the exercises–however–they stressed that the final assessment would be given later on–after an in-depth analysis. Foreign observers also gave a high appraisal to the war games.

Saying that it was the first time the 545th regiment participated in such exercises–the defense minister expressed his satisfaction with the regiment’s readiness for action. Serge Sargsian also spoke about the effective equipment of the regiment and noted: "This is what we are seeking–not all of our regimen’s have such equipment yet."

Saying that his estimation of the exercises is quite high–Mikael Haroutiunian emphasized: "The Armenian Armed Forces are in good shape to fight and are ready to encompass the tasks they are given."Let no one dare violate our borders or contact lines – the armed forces will give a due rebuttal to them," said the Chief of the General Staff.

Sargsian also said that there is no real threat of resumption of military operations in the Karabakh conflict area now. Commenting on the threats uttered by several high-ranking Azeri officials–the minister said–"The situation is becoming rather strange…In any case–I did and do advise them now to be a little restrained–as it is only the battle-field that shows who is who," said Sargsian.

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