YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan). Four MiG-29 warplanes arrived in Yerevan’s Erebuni Airport on October 22. The planes will beef up the Russian air force stationed in Armenia.
Present at the airport on the occasion were Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force Colonel-General Anatoly Kornukov–Armenia’s Minister of Defense Lieutenant-General Vagharshak Haroutiunian–and other senior military officials.
Emphasizing the military and political significance of the event–Anatoly Kornukov said that the arrival of the planes concluded the rearmament of Group N 422 of Russian Military Base N 102. There are a total of 18 MiG-29 fighters in Armenia at present–which is quite impressive.
"We understand that this is not yet the limit of our cooperation–there are prospects. We will achieve modernization without quantitative alteration," Kornukov said.
The air group sets itself both to ensure the security of Russian military units and Armenia’s air space. "Soon we will replace the outdated Krug anti-aircraft defense system with a more updated one to protect Armenia’s air space and our military units from unwelcome guests and aggressors," Kornukov added.
One MiG-29 costs $400,000. According to Kornukov–there were some problems connected with air fuel but those problems were settled. The new customs points in Georgian territory organized with the help of the British customs service blocked the transit of military cargoes for Armenia. As a result it was decided to purchase fuel in Armenia’so as not to transport it via another state’s territory. According to Kornukov–the sum of the first tranche has already been paid while the first 150 tons of kerosene will be received early next week.
According to Armenian Defense Minister Vagharshak Haroutiunian–the arrival of the fighters concludes the formation of the first military unit–which was set up through combined efforts of both countries’ armed forces and is to champion common interests. Security enforcing measures are envisaged in the collective security programs and are not aimed against any other country.
Haroutiunian returned from Athens on October 21 where Armenia and Greece signed an interstate agreement on military cooperation. A document concerning return visits of working groups was also signed.
During a solemn ceremony servicemen were given presents as well as jubilee Marshal Baghramian medals. Among the award recipients were Deputy Minister of Defense–Lieutenant-General Anatoly Zinevich and Chief of the Aviation Department of the Ministry of Defense Colonel Kajik Mnatsakanian.