STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)—The Nagorno-Karabakh armed forces received 33 battle tanks and more than 110 trucks and other vehicles in 2013 as part of an ongoing military buildup, according to the Armed Forces commander, General Movses Hakobian.
Hakobian announced the acquisitions during a yearend news conference in Stepanakert. He said they gave a further boost to the combat readiness of his troops deployed along the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” north and east of Karabakh.
Hakobian already said in July that the Karabakh Defense Army has been supplied with large quantities of heavy weapons and ammunition in the last two years. The arms supplies have been so extensive that the army has difficulty storing them and plans to build a new arms depot for that purpose, he said. The general declined to specify the types of new weaponry delivered to it.
The Karabakh Army is known to have created a new tank brigade in 2012. Such armored detachments typically consist of about 100 tanks.
Visiting Karabakh in late August, Armenia’s Prime Minister Tigran Sagsyan likewise claimed a dramatic rise in Armenian arms acquisitions. “In the last three years we have acquired as much weaponry as we did in the previous 20 years,” he said.
Sargsyan gave few details of those acquisitions. He said only, in an apparent reference to Russia, that “strategic partners” are helping Armenia to stay in the arms race with oil-rich Azerbaijan within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
Over the past decade, Azerbaijan has spent billions of dollars in oil revenue on a massive military buildup which its leaders claim will eventually help to end Armenian control over Karabakh and surrounding lands. Baku reportedly began receiving this summer around 100 tanks as well as many other Russian-made offensive weapons worth a combined $1 billion in accordance defense contracts signed with Russia.