MOSCOW — Russia has agreed to continue to supply weapons to Armenia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian told the Kommersant newspaper in an interview.
The comments in the newspaper on September 9 come a day after Pashinian met in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a sensitive time in Moscow-Yerevan relations.
“We agreed that supplies of Russian weapons will be continued routinely,” Pashinian said when asked about any agreements reached in his meetings with Putin.
Pashinian added that the weapons will be financed through loans and that “we will discuss other options.”
Armenia in November 2017 took on a $100 million Russian loan to finance deliveries of weapons from Moscow, Russian state-run TASS news agency reported. It added that the loan provides funds for Yerevan’s use from 2018-22.
The quickly arranged meeting between Pashinian and Putin came after a reported rise in tensions in Armenian-Russian relations over an investigation by the new Pashinian government into events surrounding deadly 2008 postelection demonstrations.
Russia and Armenia have long had close ties, but questions about the relations have increased since Pashinian in May ousted from power Serzh Sarkisian, seen as close to Moscow.
The Armenian prime minister has insisted that there is no “political component” in the criminal case against Kocharian. He has also denied any political motives behind the prosecutions of other former officials.
In his remarks before the meeting, Putin said relations between Moscow and Yerevan are developing “steadily in all directions.”
“This concerns the sphere of political relations, the military sphere, and issues of security and economic cooperation,” he said.
“I think that such frequency emphasizes the special nature of relations between our countries, let me say also the special nature of our personal relations,” he said.
Pashinian said in the Kommersant interview that Putin had accepted his invitation to visit Yerevan – “if not before the end of the current year, then early next year.”