Armenia, Russia Sign More Arms Deals

By Asbarez | Monday, 04 March 2019

Armenia's Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu on Feb. 8 in Moscow

Armenia’s Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu on Feb. 8 in Moscow

YEREVAN (—Armenia and Russia have reportedly signed fresh contracts for the supply of Russian weapons to the Armenian army.

Citing the Russian Defense Ministry, the Interfax news agency reported on Thursday that the contracts were signed in Moscow by Armenia’s Deputy Defense Minister Davit Pakhchanyan and top Russian defense industry executives. It gave no details.

The Armenian Defense Ministry confirmed the information, according to the Armenpress news agency. It too did not divulge financial details of the contracts or specify the types of weapons covered by them.

The ministry linked the deal to Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan’s recent trip to Moscow. Tonoyan met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu and the head of a Russian government agency overseeing arms deals with foreign states.

Tonoyan’s office said on February 8 that he and Shoygu discussed, among other things, supplies of Russian-made “state-of-the-art and precision-guided weapons” which would give the Armenian military “preventive superiority” over its adversaries. It did not elaborate.

Earlier in February, Yerevan confirmed the signing of a Russian-Armenian contract calling for the delivery of four Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jets to the Armenian Air Force. Tonoyan said last week that Yerevan will seek to acquire more such aircraft after receiving their first batch by “the beginning of next year.”

The military alliance with Russia entitles Armenia to buying Russian weapons at discounted prices. Moscow lent the Armenian government $200 million for such arms acquisitions in 2015. The weapons provided to the Armenian military under that deal included, among other things, multiple-launch rocket systems, anti-tank rockets, and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.

Yerevan secured another Russian loan, worth $100 million, for further arms purchases in 2017. It is not clear whether the latest Russian-Armenian defense contracts will be financed from that loan.

According to Interfax, the two sides are now discussing the possibility of a third Russian credit.