Are there countries ready to sell weapons to Armenia? Opinions from Yerevan
Arms supplies to Armenia
“Armenia has the financial means to acquire the necessary defensive weapons and ammunition. There are countries that are ready to supply, but buying weapons from these countries creates new security threats,” Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan said recently.
After Nancy Pelosi’s to Yerevan and her statements about the US’ readiness to help Armenia, the topic of arms supplies was raised in Armenia. Some insist on the need to withdraw from the Russian-led CSTO bloc and receive military assistance from the United States. Others believe that the West will not sell weapons to Armenia even if it does leave. The problem is not with the CSTO, but in Turkey’s NATO membership. So even if Armenia leaves the “Russian military alliance”, it may still not receive weapons from the United States.
Details – what exactly Pashinyan said about the supply of weapons to Armenia, and comment by Armenian analysts.
Security Threats Related to Arms Transfers
The Prime Minister of Armenia said in parliament that reforms are underway in the armed forces to ensure the country’s security, and “it is necessary to reform the army as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
The deputies asked Pashinyan questions about the acquisition of weapons and problems arising therefrom. The prime minister said that Armenia has the means to purchase weapons and ammunition, though resources are not unlimited. There is also a number of other problems: political, technical and logistical.
“Not all countries are ready to sell weapons to Armenia. Some are, some aren’t. And this readiness or unpreparedness has consequences, including in the field of security,” Pashinyan said.
The Prime Minister stated that weapons are usually bought to manage security threats, but in the case of Armenia, a situation has arisen “where the purchase of weapons creates new security threats.” According to experts, he meant Russia.
Pashinyan also touched upon other issues of a more technical nature. He gave as an example a country which is willing to sell, but due to contractual obligations elsewhere, cannot for some time. According to the prime minister, there are difficulties with the transportation of purchased weapons. Import is complicated due to the fact that Armenia has no access to the sea.
Pashinyan maintained that the government is working daily to overcome these problems.
After Pashinyan’s speech, the speaker of parliament continued talking about the needs of the army. Alen Simonyan stated on television that the only problem the authorities are not able to solve in full is the purchase of weapons.
“Armament must be constantly replenished. The government is doing everything to meet all other needs of the army, and does not have any financial problems,” he said.
The speaker stressed that the authorities are not limited to “one method to solve problems”, meaning that they are trying to ensure the supply of weapons from different countries, not just one.
Armenian media turned to military experts and political scientists with the question of which countries Armenia can buy weapons from.
Military expert Van Hambardzumyan believes that NATO countries will refrain from such deals.
“So countries like China, India, Serbia, and to some extent Greece, may agree to supply us with modern weapons.”
According to Hambardzumyan, when purchasing weapons after solving financial issues it is most difficult to solve political problems. Countries that are not afraid to spoil relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan could sell weapons to Armenia.
As for Russia, Armenia’s strategic ally, after the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 Moscow decided to equip its army with modern weapons. Russia exported old weapons and ammunition to other countries, including Armenia.
“Now the Russian military industry is at an impasse, because most of the components of modern Russian weapons are of Western origin and due to sanctions are not available to Moscow. And the existing old weapons no longer meet its needs,” Hambardzumyan said.
According to political observer Hakob Badalyan, membership in the CSTO creates problems for Armenia to enter other markets, but there are also political and logistical problems.
“There are political problems that are not directly related to Armenia. For example, Russian-Georgian relations cause difficulties and logistical problems for the supply of weapons to Armenia,” Badalyan said.
Political scientist Richard Kirakosyan stated that he does not consider US military assistance to Armenia realistic.
“We should not have any illusions that we will receive direct military assistance or weapons from the West,” he said.
At the same time, Russia has already shown that it is not a reliable partner for Armenia, so it is necessary to get rid of dependence on the Russian Federation, but not immediately:
“Unlike Georgia which seeks NATO membership, Armenia should be more practical and realistic and maintain a balance between Russia and the West, receiving certain benefits from both. This serves the national interests of Armenia.”
"Armenia is breaking free of Russia's clutches." Opinion
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Arms supplies to Armenia