The two men met in Moscow on the sidelines of a session of the defense ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
“Armenia is our ally in the [Collective Security Treaty Organization] and a key strategic partner in the Transcaucasus,” Shoigu said in his opening remarks at the talks cited by Russian news agencies.
“We are extremely interested in maintaining stability in the region, and we are making every effort for this purpose,” he said. “We attach particular importance to the development of bilateral cooperation and assistance in increasing the potential of the Armenian Armed Forces.”
Invoking a bilateral defense treaty, the Armenian government appealed for Russian military assistance just hours after Azerbaijani forces launched offensive military operations along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in September. Moscow avoided any military intervention, prompting criticism from Armenian officials and pro-government politicians.
Officials in Yerevan also complained about the Armenian army’s lack of modern weapons. In an apparent reference to Russia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said later in September that “our allies” have failed to deliver weapons to Armenia despite contracts signed with them in the last two years. He did not go into details.
Russia has long been the principal supplier of weapons and other military equipment to Armenia.
The Armenian Defense Ministry said that Papikian and Shoigu discussed on Friday regional security as well as “a number of current issues of military and military-technical cooperation” between their states. It did not elaborate.
In a statement on the talks, the ministry said they also signed an annual plan of joint activities by the Russian and Armenian militaries.