GYUMRI — Russian troops stationed in Armenia could openly side with it in case of a renewed Armenian-Azerbaijani war for Nagorno-Karabakh, according to their top commander, Colonel Andrey Ruzinsky.

“If Azerbaijan decides to restore jurisdiction over Nagorno-Karabakh by force the [Russian] military base may join in the armed conflict in accordance with the Russian Federation’s obligations within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO),” Ruzinksy told the Russian Defense Ministry’s “Krasnaya Zvezda” newspaper in a recent interview.

Ruzinksy answered a question about the mission of the Russian base headquartered in Armenia’s second largest city of Gyumri.

That mission was upgraded by a Russian-Armenian defense agreement signed in 2010. The agreement extended Russia’s basing rights in Armenia until 2044. It also committed Moscow to supplying its South Caucasus ally with more weapons and military hardware.

The Russian base, which numbers between 4,000 and 5,000 soldiers, has since been bolstered with modern weaponry, reportedly including Iskander-M tactical ballistic missiles. The Russian military also plans to deploy combat helicopters there soon. The Russian air force unit in Armenia currently has 16 MiG-29 fighter jets.

The Russian troops in Armenia hold joint exercises and trainings with Armenian army units on a regular basis. Around a thousand soldiers from the two armies, backed up tanks, helicopters and artillery systems, practiced a joint military operation as recently as in August.

According to Ruzinsky, more such war games are planned for next year. “I believe that we need to further develop our field cooperation, if I may put it way,” he said.

The Russian base commander also revealed to “Krasnaya Zvezda” that a group of his senior officers and their Armenian colleagues recently jointly toured “areas of combat engagement.” “We plan to increase such activities next year,” he said without elaborating.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Get notified of the latest updates from MassisPost.

You May Also Like

Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem Officially Recognized by the State of Israel

JERUSALEM — On Tuesday July 23 2013, His Beatitude Nourhan Manougian had…

Former President Serzh Sargsyan Charged in New Bribery Case

YEREVAN — Former Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan is being prosecuted in a…

USA Urges Parties to Respect Ceasefire Along Karabakh Line of Contact

YEREVAN — The US co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Ambassador James…

Musaler Refugees Memorial Unveiled in Port Said

PORT SAID, EGYPT — Last week a memorial dedicated to the Armenian…