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Russian, Armenian Militaries Conclude Fresh Talks


Armenia - Colonel-General Sergei Istrakov (C), the deputy chief of the Russian military’s General Staff, and other Russian officers conclude "staff negotiations" with their Armenian counterparts, Yerevan, July 17, 2021.

High-ranking Russian and Armenian military officials have concluded another round of negotiations aimed at deepening the already close defense ties between their countries.

Colonel-General Sergei Istrakov, the deputy chief of the Russian military’s General Staff, presented the results of the four-day “staff negotiations” to Armenia’s top army general, Artak Davtian, in Yerevan on Saturday.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said Istrakov, Davtian and other officers present at the meeting discussed “further directions of Russian-Armenian military cooperation.” It said the two sides also signed “memorandum of cooperation.”

The ministry reported no details of agreements reached during the talks.

Istrakov also met with Davtian and Defense Minister Vagharshak Harutiunian earlier in the week.

Armenian - Lieutenant-General Artak Davtian (C), the chief of the Armenian army's General Staff, and other officers conclude "staff negotiations" with a visiting Russian military delegation, Yerevan, July 17, 2021.
Armenian - Lieutenant-General Artak Davtian (C), the chief of the Armenian army's General Staff, and other officers conclude "staff negotiations" with a visiting Russian military delegation, Yerevan, July 17, 2021.

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.”

Harutiunian and the chief of the Russian General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov, discussed what the Armenian Defense Ministry described as ongoing “large-scale reforms” of Armenia’s armed forces in a July 8 phone call.

They also spoke about the upcoming round of Russian-Armenian defense talks which the ministry said will focus on “bilateral programs and actions aimed at deepening Russian-Armenian military cooperation.”

The Armenian government moved to step up that cooperation 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.

The situation at those border sections was also on the agenda of Gerasimov’s call with the Armenian defense minister.

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