YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—The head of a Russian government agency overseeing arms deals with foreign states visited Yerevan on Wednesday, less than two months after signing a Russian-Armenian agreement on joint weapons production and repair.
Aleksandr Fomin, who runs Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, held separate meetings with President Serzh Sarkisian and Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian.
Sarkisian’s press office said the Armenian leader discussed with Fomin “a wide range of issues pertaining to the further development of defense cooperation” between Armenia and Russia. It said they looked into relevant programs planned by the two “strategic allies.” No further details were reported.
A separate statement by the Armenian Defense Ministry said Ohanian and Fomin reached “understandings” on setting up joint “certified centers for the repair and maintenance of military hardware and weapons” in Armenia. It did not elaborate.
The creation of such centers is envisaged by a Russian-Armenian agreement on “the development of military-technical cooperation” that was signed by Ohanian and Fomin in Yerevan on June 25. Nikolay Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, sought to underline the importance of the agreement with his presence at the signing ceremony.
Ohanian described the document as “very important” later in June. He said it will help Armenia maintain military parity with Azerbaijan in the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The minister spoke just days after it emerged that Russia is to sell $1 billion worth of offensive weapons to Baku.
Russian President Vladimir Putin formally authorized his government to sign the new defense accord with Armenia in January. The Russian government daily “Rossiiskaya Gazeta” reported shortly afterwards that the planned Russian-Armenian military facilities will cater for tanks, armored personnel carriers, air-defense systems and even helicopter gunships. Another Russian paper, “Nezavisimaya Gazeta,” said Moscow will also help Armenia “launch the production of some types of ammunition and armored vehicles.”