Colonel-General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of staff of Russia’s armed forces, met with Armenia’s top military officials on Friday to discuss what the Defense Ministry in Yerevan called joint military activities planned by the two states.
Gerasimov also held separate talks with President Serzh Sarkisian during a two-day visit to his country’s main regional ally. Sarkisian’s press office said the two men reviewed bilateral military ties “in the context of a further deepening and strengthening of Russian-Armenian strategic relations.”
Gerasimov, who took over the Russian military’s General Staff in November, met his Armenian counterpart, Colonel-General Yuri Khachaturov, and Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian earlier in the day. He was due to visit the Gyumri headquarters of a Russian military base in Armenia before returning to Moscow.
A statement by the Armenian Defense Ministry said Gerasimov’s talks with Khachaturov and Ohanian focused on regional security and Russian-Armenian “military and military-technical cooperation.” That included “planning the use of joint forces and means,” it said without elaborating.
The talks came just over two weeks after Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu’s official trip to Armenia. Shoygu announced in Yerevan that the two sides will work out in February “a program of our cooperation for the next five years.”
Shoygu’s visit was apparently timed to coincide with Russian-Armenian security talks that took place in Yerevan within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russian-led alliance of six former Soviet republics. The talks focused on an agreement paving the way for joint arms production and repair. The agreement is expected to be signed soon.
Nikolay Bordyuzha, the CSTO secretary general, said on January 29 that Yerevan and Moscow are already preparing to open seven facilities in Armenia for maintenance and repair of military hardware. According to a Russian government daily, they will cater for tanks, armored personnel carriers, air-defense systems and even helicopter gunships.