20 November, Monday


Armenian-Russian grouping of troops will not be present in Nagorno-Karabakh - A view from Moscow - EXCLUSIVE

Specialist view

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Georgy Fedorov
Russian political and public figure, member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation specially for Eurasia Diary
 
- Recently, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan signed the law on ratification of the agreements on the creation of the Armenian-Russian joint grouping of troops and the country's joining the Russian-Belarusian intergovernmental  financial and industrial group,  (IFIG) " Defense Systems".  What are the objectives of the creation of such a grouping of troops?
 
- Armenia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which means that it is not surprising that Russia and Armenia coordinate defense efforts, including joint groupings of forces in the CSTO space. Both sides are interested in this. This grouping is aimed at containing and reflecting objective threats of a regional nature. The Caucasus, the Black Sea - all these are strategic areas. After the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, United States and the NATO countries began to pay more attention to the Black Sea. Also, despite the achievement of partnership agreements between Russia and Turkey, Ankara remains a geopolitical rival of Moscow. But relations between Turkey and Armenia can’t even be called friendship or partnership. Given these circumstances and the overall geopolitical situation, the presence of this group of troops looks like a logical solution.
 
- In your opinion, can this group be present in Nagorno-Karabakh?
 
- The grouping will not be present in Nagorno-Karabakh, as this is a very painful junction for Armenia and Azerbaijan. Russia understands this and does not want the emergence of dangerous provocations in this region.
 
- Russia and Azerbaijan closely cooperate in military terms. Russia supplies weapons to Azerbaijan and Armenia. And this fact is worrying Yerevan. What can you say about this?
 
- I do not have exact information about the range of armaments and military equipment that Armenia expects to buy in Russia. But I can say with confidence that the funds allocated by Russia are pursuing a commercial, financial benefit by stimulating the Russian military-industrial complex and placing orders at Russian defense enterprises. And the fact that Russia in military-technical terms cooperates with Armenia and Azerbaijan only confirms the fact that both republics remain strategic partners of Moscow.
 
- In accordance with the draft budget for 2018, in Armenia, it is planned to increase defense spending by 17% or 27 billion drams. The military expenditures of the country will thus amount to 246 billion drams or $ 518 million. Can Armenia unleash a war with Azerbaijan?
 
- This option is extremely unlikely. War is not beneficial to any of the parties, since a potential armed conflict can lead to disastrous consequences in the region. This is understood in both Yerevan and Baku. In addition, speaking objectively neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan has an economy that allows conducting lengthy military conflict.
 
- As you know, Russia supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. How do you see the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
 
- The settlement of the Karabakh conflict is a task, in the solution of which, first of all, the both sides should be interested: Armenia and Azerbaijan. That's why they, not anyone else, should find the most effective ways of settling this dispute. Any measures imposed by external forces will be counterproductive while in Yerevan and Baku they will not be ready for reconciliation, or at least reaching a compromise.
 
Seymur Mammadov

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