The state-run manufacturer of Russia’s world-famous Kalashnikov assault rifles inaugurated on Friday an official representation in Armenia in the presence of senior Armenian and Russian officials.
According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, the Kalashnikov Concern’s office will be located at the premises of Aspar Arms, an Armenian defense company specializing in small arms and ammunition production. The company has already housed Kalashnikov’s sole “service center” in the region.
A ministry statement said the opening ceremony, which was apparently closed to media, featured speeches by Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian, the Russian ambassador in Yerevan, Ivan Volynkin, and a senior executive of Russia’s Rosoboronexport arms exporter. It said they all stressed the importance of deepening the already close military ties between Russia and Armenia.
“We attach great importance to military and military technical cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Armenia,” Ohanian was quoted as saying. He noted that Russian-Armenian agreements signed to date envisage, among other things, the creation of joint defense ventures.
One of those agreements allows Armenian and Russian defense companies to supply each other with equipment, assembly parts and other materials needed for the production, modernization and repair of various arms.
The Armenian Defense Ministry did not specify the mission of the Kalashnikov office in Armenia. It said only that during the opening ceremony the Russian company put on display several samples of its weapons, including handguns and sniper and automatic rifles used by special army units.
These are the kind of small arms that are manufactured by Aspar Arms and increasingly used by Armenia’s armed forces. One of them is a modernized version of a semi-automatic sniper rifle developed by the Kalashnikov Concern.
Kalashnikov’s AK-74 rifles and PK machine guns are the principle light weapons of the Armenian army’s regular infantry units.