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Armenia Wants Russia To Expand Military Presence On Its Territory. Is Moscow Really Interested?

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Armenia Wants Russia To Expand Military Presence On Its Territory. Is Moscow Really Interested?

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Armenia is interested in the expansion and buildup of the 102nd Russian military base in Gyumri, Armenian Defense Minister Vagharshak Harutyunyan said in an interview with Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti.

“The question 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 full force is part of the Joint Grouping of Troops (Forces) 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 said.

He claimed that “the leadership of the Russian Defense Ministry took into account the existing military and political realities in the region and made the right steps towards strengthening and re-equipping the base.”

“And I am sure that this process will be long-term,” Harutyunyan added.

At the same time, Moscow has not declared any real interest in the increase of the military presence on the territory of Armenia. The value of the permanent military base there dramatically decreased in recent years as Russia now has a major stronghold on the Mediterranean coast, in Syria.

In the light of the recent statement of the Armenian Defense Minister, it is interesting to show how the position of the current Armenian leadership regarding the cooperation with Russia and in particular the base in Gyumri evolved.

The ongoing deep crisis in Armenian was caused by the lost war in Nagorno-Karabakh and the earlier collapse of the country’s regional positions due to the anti-Russian policies employed by the current political regime in Yerevan.

Just several months ago, circles close to Nikol Pashinyan were openly declaring that they should orient towards the ‘West’ and Armenia needs no strong Russian military presence inside the country. No, this situation changed.

However, it does not seem that the Armenian leadership has learnt the lesson as it continues to deny the sad reality that the Azerbaijani advance in Nagorno-Karabakh became possible and successful only thanks to Armenia’s own actions.

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