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Armenian Army Chief Visits Moscow


Armenia/Russia - Lieutenant-General Artak Davtian (L), chief of the Armenian amy's General Staff, and his Russian counterpart General Valery Gerasimov.

Armenia’s and Russia’s top army generals have met in Moscow for talks highlighting high-level military contacts between the two states that have intensified after last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said on Friday that Lieutenant-General Artak Davtian discussed with his Russian opposite number, General Valery Gerasimov, “a number of issues of bilateral military cooperation” during the meeting held on Thursday.

A short ministry statement gave no details of Davtian’s trip to Moscow. The Russian Defense Ministry issued no press releases on the talks.

The chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff flew to the Russian capital five days after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Armenian counterpart Vagharshak Harutiunian spoke by phone for a second time in as many weeks.

According to the Defense Ministry in Yerevan, Shoigu and Davtian discussed Russia’s ongoing peacekeeping operation in Karabakh, activities of a joint Russian-Armenian military contingent and “the main directions of large-scale reforms” of the Armenian army launched after the war.

Harutiunian also discussed the reforms with Gerasimov in a March 23 phone call. The minister’s press office said they agreed that a high-ranking Russian delegation will visit Armenia soon for more detailed talks on the subject.

A delegation led by one of Gerasimov’s deputies already held weeklong negotiations with the Armenian army’s top brass in Yerevan in January. Harutiunian said afterwards that the talks were aimed at “assisting us in the reform and modernization of Armenia’s armed forces.”

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said the Russian military is already providing such assistance when he spoke after meeting with Russian President in Moscow on April 7. Pashinian told Armenian lawmakers afterwards that the two sides are holding “quite productive discussions” on a possible deployment of more Russian troops to Armenia and its southeastern Syunik province in particular.

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 sent soldiers and border guards there late last year to help the Armenian military defend the region against possible Azerbaijani attacks.

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