“Haykakan Zhamanak” challenges the assertion made by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a recent interview with Armenian Public Television that a possible sale of S-300 anti-aircraft defense systems to Azerbaijan would not disturb the military balance in the region because the weapon is not of offensive nature.
“But such an explanation, to put it mildly, is far from reflecting the reality. Only a couple of years ago, the U.S.-Russian relations grew extremely tense because Washington planned to install missile defense systems in Europe. The Russians were categorically against that intention and the Americans were perplexed at that stance because the systems were for defense purposes, designed to protect Europe and the West from missile strikes. The Russians, in reply, insisted that an ensured protection from missile strikes would make it easier for the West to make a decision to launch a strike against Russia,” writes the paper.
“This argument is well-grounded,” continues “Haykakan Zhamanak”. “The same is true for Azerbaijan. In the event of a possible aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh today, Armenia may respond with strikes against strategic facilities in Azerbaijan. This prospect will make Azerbaijan think twice before unleashing a war. And when Russia sells S-300 systems to Azerbaijan, Baku will get guarantees that Armenian missiles will not reach the targets, which will ensure a strong rear for the Azerbaijani army. Therefore, by selling S-300 systems to Azerbaijan, Russia increases the likelihood of an Azeri aggression, clearly enhancing the combat-readiness of Azerbaijan’s army.”
In its editorial “Aravot” also refers to Lavrov’s statement and, in particular, challenges his belief that “no state in the region plans to launch new military operations, because it would be catastrophic.”
“The belief that he expresses refers to our region, the South Caucasus. Lavrov’s assessment is in stark contrast to what is clear to everyone, particularly that the leader of one of the regional countries, Azerbaijan, almost every day states about his readiness to start military operations,” writes the paper.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar”, the cochairman of the Armenian-Russian committee for inter-parliamentary cooperation, secretary of the parliamentary faction of the pro-government Prosperous Armenia party Aram Safarian argues that Russia’s combining its military bases in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Armenia into one military “unit” means that Moscow views the South Caucasus as “an important military-political direction and a region deserving separate attention in terms of ensuring national security.”
“This circumstance is important for Armenia at least because it will put an end to the talks and rumors that have lingered for 15 years that our strategic ally is leaving the region and is leaving us alone with our foes. All such talks are no longer appropriate and from now on we should feel more secure in our country,” says Safarian.