“We must note that the Armenian-Russian military alliance is pivotal for ensuring the external security of the Republic of Armenia and it is cemented by several dozen strategic treaties and mutual defense obligations,” Pashinian told lawmakers in Yerevan.
He stressed the importance of a joint military contingent comprising Russian troops stationed in Armenia and a Russian-Armenian air-defense system.
“According to the logic of the agreements that formed these two systems, an attack on Armenia means an attack on Russia, and the two countries must jointly confront external challenges,” he said.
Accordingly, Pashinian indicated Yerevan’s interest in the expansion of the Russian military base headquarters in Gyumri. In that context, he said Russian and Armenian officials are holding “quite productive discussions” on a possible deployment of more Russian troops to Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province.
Syunik borders Iran as well as districts southwest of Nagorno-Karabakh which were retaken by Azerbaijan during and after a six-week war stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire on November 10. Russia deployed soldiers and border guards there late last year to help the Armenian military defend the region against possible Azerbaijani attacks.
Pashinian discussed bilateral military ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin during an April 7 visit to Moscow. He said after the talks that Russia is helping Armenia reform its armed forces after the autumn war in Karabakh.
The Armenian Defense Ministry announced late last month that a high-level Russian military delegation will visit Armenia soon for further talks on the defense reforms.
A delegation led by Colonel-General Sergei Istrakov, a deputy chief of the Russian military’s General Staff, held weeklong negotiations with the Armenian army’s top brass in Yerevan in January.