Military officials from Armenia and Russia are meeting in Moscow to discuss ways of improving “secret communications” between the armed forces of the two allied states, the Armenian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.
In a statement, the ministry said the two-day “working meeting” of unnamed officers of the Armenian army’s General Staff and their Russian counterparts began on Tuesday. They are looking into “issues of modernizing secret communications,” it said without elaborating.
The ministry said the discussions stem from a 2016 plan of joint activities by the Russian and Armenian militaries which was drawn up late last year. It thus implied that they are not connected with last month’s outbreak of heavy fighting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia and Russia have maintained close military ties ever since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Armenia hosts a Russian military base on its territory and has received large quantities of Russian weapons as part of that alliance.
It is still not clear whether the Armenian military has regular access to Russian spy satellite data on Azerbaijan’s military installations and troop movements. Russian and Armenian officials have never publicly commented on that.
The chief of Armenian military intelligence, the commander of the Armenian army’s communication units as well as a deputy defense minister in charge of arms procurements were sacked by President Serzh Sarkisian shortly after the April 2-5 hostilities along the Karabakh “line of contact.” The sackings resulted from what some officials in Yerevan called “shortcomings” in the Armenian military’s response to the April 2 Azerbaijani offensive in Karabakh.
Nearly 90 Armenian soldiers and volunteers were killed during the four-day fighting stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire.