Russia’s defense minister, Marshal Igor Sergeev, held talks with Armenia’s top political and military leadership on July 14 and 15 in Yerevan. The discussions are said to have focused on: (1) a plan to “upgrade the armament and equipment” of Russian forces stationed in Armenia; (2) an increase in Armenia’s contribution to the financing of joint military activities; (3) admission of additional Armenian cadets to Russian military schools; planning of new joint military exercises; (4) incorporating Armenia’s air defense forces into the Russian-led air defense system of the CIS; and (5) possible deliveries of Russian C-300 soil-air missiles to Armenia–the type that Moscow plans to deliver to Cyprus. (See the Monitor, July 6, 10, 13-15)
Sergeev visited the Russian motorized infantry and artillery base at Kanaker near Yerevan and a joint Russian-Armenian air defense headquarters and unit on the Turkish border, witnessing exercises in both places.
Sergeev and the Armenian officials described the bilateral military cooperation as stemming from the alliance treaty, signed in August 1997 in Moscow by President Boris Yeltsin with Armenia’s then-president Levon Ter-Petrosian. Armenia’s new president Robert Kocharian seems set to continue and amplify such cooperation. Defense Minister Vazgen Sarkisian, who wields major political influence in the Kocharian presidency as he did under Ter-Petrosian, provides an important element of continuity in terms of military cooperation with Russia. Prime Minister Armen Darbinian publicly wished Russia to overcome the financial crisis as soon as possible in order to increase military spending. (Noyan-Tapan, Russian agencies, July 14 and 15)
KAZAKHSTAN BUILDS CASPIAN FLOTILLA.