Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov reaffirmed his country’s strong commitment to close military ties with Armenia, signalling that Moscow may soon bolster a joint Russian-Armenian military unit.
Itar-Tass news agency quoted Ivanov as describing Moscow’s military alliance with Yerevan as “stable” and “very serious” after talks with his visiting Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sarkisian. The two men signed additional agreements on military cooperation, including one on a regular exchange of relevant information.
Ivanov said the special military contingent comprising troops from the Russian military base in Armenia and Armenian army units is “supplied with everything necessary and plays a stabilizing role in the military-political situation in the Caucasus.” He said the contingent numbering several thousand servicemen could be beefed up soon in view of the existing “threat of terrorism” in the region.
"A large number of Armenian servicemen undergo training in Russian military training establishments. Over 200 Armenian officers arrived in Russia for training this year. We intend to continue to provide every opportunity for the training of Armenian servicemen in Russia," Ivanov said.
The comments came against the backdrop of worsening tensions between Russia and Georgia over cross-border attacks on Russian troops launched by Chechen rebels. President Vladimir Putin’s recent threats to strike against rebel bases on Georgian territory have raised the prospect of a military conflict between the two ex-Soviet neighbors.