Yerevan and Moscow are discussing the possibility of transferring the 102nd Russian base stationed in Gyumri (Armenia) to the borders of Azerbaijan.
“It is probably more correct to talk about the possibility of redeploying any military unit from the Russian military base (taking into account its expansion) to the eastern direction of Armenia, and in this context, a corresponding joint study of the issue is underway,” the Minister of Defense of the republic said in an interview with RIA Novosti Vagharshak Harutyunyan.
The eastern direction of Armenia is the western border of Azerbaijan, which was liberated and restored following the results of the 2020 war.
“The issue of expanding and strengthening the Russian military base on the territory of the Republic of Armenia has always been on the agenda, and the Armenian side has always been interested in this for the simple reason that the base in its entirety is part of the Joint Group of Troops of the Armed Forces of Armenia and Russia and, therefore, the expansion of the base’s capabilities automatically entails an increase in the potential of the joint group operating on a bilateral basis in the Caucasian region of collective security,” the minister explained.
In addition, according to Harutyunyan, the Russian border guards in Armenia are entrusted with additional functions to ensure the security and protection of the border of the Republic of Armenia with Azerbaijan.
“I have no doubt that close and effective cooperation has been established between the border services of our states, as well as that all tasks assigned to Russian border guards in Armenia will be performed at the highest level,” Harutyunyan said.
“Before the conflict in Karabakh (autumn war of 2020 – Turan), the personnel of the Border Directorate of the FSB of Russia in Armenia was responsible for fulfilling the tasks of ensuring the security and protection of the border of the Commonwealth of Independent States passing through the territory of the Republic of Armenia. Today the situation has changed significantly,” the minister said.
In addition to redeploying units of the 102nd Russian base to the Azerbaijani border and reinforcing the border troops of the Russian Federation, Yerevan intends to strengthen the military group at the expense of armed local residents.
According to reports from the Armenian parliament, a law is being passed there, allowing residents of Armenian villages bordering Azerbaijan to carry rifled small arms – machine guns. Owning a hunting rifle for more than five years will receive the right to own a military weapon.
This initiative will help the residents of these villages not only actively engage in hunting, but also feel additional protection in the new conditions at the border. The list of villages where they will be allowed to carry weapons will be published later,” said Armen Khachatryan, a deputy from the My Step faction of the Armenian parliament.
And on the Azerbaijani territory, following a joint statement of 02/09/2020, a Russian military contingent in the amount of 1,960 servicemen, 90 armored personnel carriers, 380 units of automobile and special equipment was deployed.
The Armenian Defense Minister says the redeployment of the 102nd base unit to the “eastern border” is not the opening of a second Russian military base in Armenia. However, in fact, we are talking about the creation of a second Russian base in Armenia, which will be deployed on the border with Azerbaijan. The geographical location indicates that if the former base in Gyumri is designed to protect Armenia from the Turkish Armed Forces, then the second base “in the east” will solve the problem of repelling a hypothetical attack of the Azerbaijani army, and (or) the implementation of military aggression against Azerbaijan.
The reason for unleashing an escalation may be an incident caused by the shelling of Azerbaijani border guards by armed “civilians” of Armenian villages and the fire response of the Azerbaijani military. If an armed Armenian villager is hit, Azerbaijan will be accused of killing civilians in Armenia.
102 Russian military bases are deployed in the city of Gyumri, ensuring the security of the Armenian-Turkish state border. In 2010, amendments were made to the Armenian-Russian interstate document, according to which the period of her stay was extended from the initial 25 years to 49 years, until 2044.
The base has two garrisons: in Gyumri (126 km north of Yerevan) and in Yerevan. In the vicinity of the military base there is a residential quarter “8th town”, where families of military personnel – about 4,000 people – live. The aviation component of the military base is located at the Erebuni airfield
Source: Turan News Agency