Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and his Armenian counterpart Seyran Ohanian reportedly reaffirmed plans to expand the already close military ties between their countries during fresh talks held in Moscow on Wednesday.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said they discussed “a number of topical issues of ensuring security in the Transcaucasus” and joint efforts to “maintain peace and stability in the region in the short and medium terms.”
Shoygu and Ohanian noted a “positive dynamics” in Russian-Armenian military cooperation, reaffirming their desire to achieve its “further development,” the ministry said in a statement. No other details were reported.
The Armenian Defense Ministry issued a virtually identical statement on the talks. Official photographs publicized by it show that Ohanian was accompanied by his first deputy, Davit Tonoyan, and Colonel-General Yuri Khachaturov, chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff, during the “working visit” to Moscow.
The talks came less than three months after Shoygu’s trip to Armenia. He said in Yerevan that the two sides will work out in February “a program of our cooperation for the next five years.” Colonel-General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of staff of Russia’s armed forces, visited the South Caucasus state hosting a Russian military base two weeks later.
President Serzh Sarkisian spoke of “good progress” in bilateral military ties when he met with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in mid-March.
According to official sources, “military-technical cooperation” was also on the agenda of Shoygu’s meetings with Ohanian. Yerevan and Moscow are expected to sign soon an agreement on joint arms production and repair.
Nikolay Bordyuzha, the secretary general of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, announced in late January that the two sides are preparing to open seven facilities in Armenia for maintenance and repair of military hardware. The Russian government daily “Rossiiskaya Gazeta” clarified that the facilities will cater for tanks, armored personnel carriers, air-defense systems and helicopter gunships.