YEREVAN — Armenia and Russia are set to sign a treaty on a joint task force, which would give legal grounds for Russia to use its military to protect Armenia from foreign aggression. Armenia is among the few nations hosting Russian troops on its territory.

The new Joint Task Force (JTF) agreement set to be signed later this week between Moscow and Yerevan upgrades an existing military cooperation mechanism, going into far greater detail about how troops would be used in case of a hypothetical attack.

According to the new agreement the JTF will set the goal of the group, its task, staff, as well as organization of mutual collaboration, management system, logistical and financial provision, and other points on intergovernmental level and in the normative legal regard.

The main task of the united group of troops will be to prepare for offensives against Armenia and Russia, detect these offensives timely and throw them back.

“If Armenia is attacked, the Russian military base in Gyumri would be involved in our defense, but this requires legal grounds. This international agreement will provide such grounds,” Armenian Defense Minister Vigen Sarkisian told Armenian media.

Sarkisian’s comment came ahead of a visit to Russia this week, during which he and his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu are to sign the new agreement. It will be his first foreign trip since his appointment in October.

The Gyumri base is one of a handful of Russian military faculties on foreign soil and is a legacy of the Soviet Union. Armenia is to host it until at least 2044, according to the standing agreement. The base is home to about 5,000 Russian troops as well as air defense systems, Mig-29 fighter jets and Mi-24 helicopter gunships.

Russia and Armenia also joined their air defense systems in December 2015.

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