YEREVAN–Armenia will continue purchasing Russian-made weapons despite possible sanctions from the West against Russia, Deputy Defense Minister David Pakhchanyan said at a news conference Wednesday.
“Of course, sanctions are a problem, but the issue of security is a top priority for us, and we’ll be guided by our interests first,” added Pakhchanyan.
“Armenian and Russian cooperation in this field is very productive. We have received weapons worth $200 million under the first contract signed between the two countries. We have agreed on starting the second stage worth $100 million,” explained the deputy minister.
He added that Armenia cooperates with other countries, as well. Pakhchanyan said Armenia has established good ties with countries with well-developed military industry, such as Serbia, China and Poland.
Pakhchanyan noted that the supply of Russian weapons to Azerbaijan cannot but worry Armenia and welcomed the recent statements by Russian officials that the volume of those supplies have been reduced since the April 2016 War.
On the same note, Russian news agency Tass reported Thursday that Moscow will start supplying weapons to Armenia under the new $100 million loan in 2018, according to Russia’s Deputy Head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Vladimir Drozhzhov.
“They [supplies] are envisioned for 2018,” Drozhzhov told reporters at the ArmHiTec exhibition.
The agreement on the loan for Armenia to buy Russian weapons was signed on October 24. The loan was provided with a three percent annual interest rate over a period of 15 years. Under the agreement, Yerevan should use the funds from 2018 to 2022.
In June 2015, Russia signed an agreement with Armenia on a state export loan worth $200 million to finance deliveries of Russian weapons. The loan maturity was 13 years with a three-year grace period and a three percent annual interest rate.
Now that Russia is under severe international scrutiny and sanction, it will only tighten the stranglehold on Armenia. Russia knows very well Armenia’s desperate situation, and therefore, it will treat it as an SSR once again. Any notion or resemblance of independence will only be on paper.