BAKU — Russia is offering a large batch of top-of-the-line tanks to Azerbaijan that has caused outrage in Armenia, its main regional ally.
The Azerbaijani news agency APA cited unnamed representatives of the state-own Uralvagonzavod enterprise as saying that shipments of advanced T-90 tanks began last year and are continuing “according to schedule.” They said the next batch of this military hardware will reach Azerbaijan in August.
Russia has also delivered 12 more heavy flamethrowers to Azerbaijan as part of the multimillion-dollar arms deals with Baku. the Azerbaijani army will receive soon 6 TOS-1A systems manufactured by Uralvagonzavod, a state-run Russian defense company. It said a third and final batch of these weapons designed to support advancing tanks and infantry will be supplied later on.
A TOS-1A system can fire up to 24 incendiary or thermobaric rockets in a single salvo. With a 6-kilometer range, the rockets are designed to destroy enemy personnel, armored vehicles and transport.
In addition, Azerbaijan is reportedly in talks with Russia to buy Bal-E coastal anti-ship missile systems. Russian newspaper Kommersant quoted “an informed source in the Russian military-industrial complex” as saying that “negotiations will start later, now there is an understanding that our Azerbaijani colleagues are counting on the purchase of one division of the system.”
Analysts in Yerevan were concerned about possible consequences of Russian-Azerbaijani military cooperation. “If that is not compensated with more arms supplies to Armenia it could disrupt the balance,” warned Sergey Minasian, the deputy director of the Caucasus Institute. He said Moscow has until now cemented the Karabakh status quo with large-scale military assistance to Yerevan.