The Russian military announced on Monday that it has deployed six more combat helicopters to an airbase just outside Yerevan which is used by its troops stationed in Armenia.
The press service of Russia’s Southern Military District said “the second batch” of modernized Mi-24 attack helicopters and Mi-8 transport choppers was delivered to the Erebuni airfield from the Krasnodar region. In a statement, it said their shipment completed the formation of a helicopter squadron of the Russian military base headquartered in Gyumri.
The base took delivery of seven helicopters of this type earlier this month.
The Armenian government formally authorized the deployment in November 2013, setting aside two plots of land for the squadron in and around Erebuni. The airbase also hosts more than a dozen Russian MiG-29 fighter jets as well as Armenian military aircraft and helicopters. The Russian jets were modernized in 2013-2014.
The Russian base numbering up to 5,000 soldiers has also been beefed up with other advanced military hardware in recent years. It latest reinforcement coincided with Russia’s bitter row with Turkey sparked by last month’s downing of a Russian warplane near the Syrian-Turkish border.
The standoff has raised fears in Yerevan that Armenia, which has a closed border with Turkey, could be drawn into a potential military confrontation between the two regional powers. Turkish military helicopters reportedly twice violated the Armenian airspace in early October, just days after Ankara accused Russian warplanes of straying into Turkish territory from Syria.