Colonel-General Sergei Istrakov, the deputy chief of the Russian military’s General Staff, and high-ranking Russian officers accompanying him arrived in Yerevan earlier this week for further “staff negotiations” between the armed forces of the two states.
Istrakov held separate talks with Defense Minister Vagharshak Harutiunian and his Armenian opposite number, Lieutenant-General Artak Davtian, on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, he discussed with Davtian the agenda of the negotiations. The two generals also “mapped out the scale and directions of the upcoming work,” the ministry said in a statement.
A Russian military delegation headed by Istrakov already held weeklong “staff negotiations” with the Armenian army’s top brass in January. Harutiunian said afterwards the talks were aimed at “assisting us in the reform and modernization of Armenia’s armed forces.”
“A very serious emphasis was put on the military-technical component of the matter,” the minister told the RIA Novosti news agency, referring to arms acquisitions.
The Armenian government announced plans to further deepen Russian-Armenian military ties shortly after the six-week war in Nagorno-Karabakh stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire last November. Moscow has since deployed troops in Armenia’s Syunik province bordering districts southwest of Karabakh retaken by Azerbaijan during and after the hostilities.
Yerevan requested additional Russian troop deployments along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan after Azerbaijani forces reportedly crossed several sections of the frontier and advanced a few kilometers into Syunik and another Armenian province, Gegharkunik, in May.
Pashinian’s press office said that the prime minister and Istrakov discussed, among other things, “the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.” It gave no details.
A statement by the office said they also talked about regional security and the “agenda” of Russian-Armenian military cooperation praised by Pashinian.