Armenia and Russia plan to significantly boost cooperation between their defense industries within the framework of a Russian-led military alliance of seven ex-Soviet states, top security officials from the two countries said after talks in Yerevan on Tuesday.
Nikolay Bordyuzha, the secretary general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), said the alliance has already launched a “pilot project” aimed at integrating Armenian defense enterprises into Russia’s military-industrial complex.
“Military-industrial cooperation with Armenia is one of the priority areas of CSTO activities,” the Regnum news agency quoted Bordyuzha as telling journalists. He said “practical steps” already taken in that direction will bear fruit soon.
“We will soon be monitoring the realization of agreements that were reached today,” said Konstantin Biryulin, the deputy head of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation with foreign states.
According to Artur Baghdasarian, the secretary of Armenia’s National Security Council, the agreements envisage, among other things, the establishment of Russian-Armenian defense joint ventures. He did not elaborate.
The three men spoke at a joint news conference after two days of negotiations that also involved Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian. Bordyuzha and Biryulin visited on Monday four Armenian plants manufacturing weapons and other military equipment.
Biryulin and other officials from his agency already visited Armenia last December for a session of a Russian-Armenian inter-governmental commission on bilateral military-technical cooperation. Under an agreement signed during the meeting, Russia and Armenia will work together in exporting arms and ammunition to third countries.
The military alliance with Russia and, in particular, the presence of Russian troops on Armenian soil has been a key element of Armenia’s national security doctrine since independence. Armenia has been entitled to receiving Russian weapons at cut-down prices or even free of charge also because of its membership in the CSTO.
“In my opinion, the possibility of purchasing Russian weapons is the main privilege given to CSTO members states within the framework of military-industrial cooperation,” Ohanian told the Interfax news agency on Tuesday. “I will not hide the fact that we pin big hopes on this sphere of activity.”