Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev wrapped up on Tuesday a two-day visit to Armenia which focused on close defense and security ties between the two countries.
Patrushev was reported to describe as “productive” his talks with his Armenian opposite number, Armen Grigorian, when he met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian at the end of the trip.
According to an Armenian government statement, Pashinian and Patrushev discussed not only Russian-Armenian relations but also the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as well as other “regional and international security developments and challenges.” The statement cited Pashinian as saying that “strategic cooperation between Armenia and Russia is dynamically developing.”
Pashinian also noted that it is Patrushev’s first visit to Yerevan since last year’s “Velvet Revolution” that brought down Armenia’s former government.
Patrushev and Grigorian praised the current state of bilateral military ties at their separate talks. A statement by Armenia’s National Security Council said they agreed on the need to set up more Russian-Armenian defense enterprises.
They also discussed “the issue of regulating arms sales to third countries,” the statement said without elaborating. It apparently referred to Russian arms supplies to Azerbaijan and Turkey which have raised concerns in Armenia. The current and previous Armenian governments have been particularly worried about Moscow’s large-scale defense contracts with Baku.
Pashinian condemned those deals and questioned the wisdom of Armenia’s membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) when he was in opposition to the former authorities in Yerevan. But after coming to power in May 2018 he has repeatedly ruled out his country’s withdrawal from the CSTO and another Russian-led bloc, the Eurasian Economic Union.
Russia has long been the principle supplier of weapons and other military equipment to the Armenian military. Armenia also hosts a Russian military base.