The military alliance with Russia is vital for Armenia’s national security, Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian said on Tuesday, citing its unresolved disputes with not only Azerbaijan but also Turkey.
Ohanian stressed the importance of a 2010 Russian-Armenian agreement that prolonged and upgraded Russia military presence in Armenia and committed Moscow to supplying advanced weaponry to the Armenian military.
“Our neighbors have been turning their defensive capabilities into offensive ones and in that sense ensuring our security without Russia would be very difficult. If it was only Azerbaijan, we wouldn’t have problems,” he told students of a Russian-Armenian university in Yerevan.
“For many years, modern and compatible weapons are being supplied to Armenia so that we can maintain the balance in the region,” he said, adding that Russian military assistance will continue in the coming years.
The Armenian government reported earlier this month a dramatic increase in its arms acquisitions in the last few years, saying that they have offset Azerbaijan’s continuing massive military buildup. “In the last three years we have acquired as much weaponry as we did in the previous 20 years,” Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian said during a visit to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Russia has also raised eyebrows in Yerevan with recent years’ arms sales to Azerbaijan reportedly worth billions of dollars.