Armenian Defence Minister: country buying only new weapons, and from various countries
The Minister of Defense of Armenia has made several important statements after the closed session of the parliamentary committee on defense and security. They concern purchases of the latest weapons from different countries, the 102nd Russian military base located in Gyumri and the April “four-day war” in 2016.
Below – all the details of his answers to questions from journalists.
“There were [failures] on the Armenian side during the April war”
During the April escalation of tension on the Azerbaijani-Karabakh contact line in 2016, dubbed the “four-day war,” David Tonoyan served as deputy defense minister.
He stated that these days “there were omissions on the Armenian side” that he is aware of, and he is ready to testify to the parliamentary commission, which is now trying to investigate all the circumstances of the incident. However, the commission has still not invited him to testify.
A commission of inquiry has been created at the initiative of the prime minister about half a year ago.
The head of the government then stated that it was time to find out all the circumstances of the hostilities on the contact line of the troops of the Armenian-Azerbaijani forces from April 2-5, 2016.
It was the largest and most bloody flare up since the armistice in 1994. According to official figures, in those four days more than 200 people died on both sides.
The country is asking how efficiently the command staff of the Armed Forces acted and whether the army was provided with the necessary equipment and weapons. The Minister of Defense said that he himself knows the answers to the questions posed to the commission, but expects positive results from its work, after which this information will be available to the public:
“All doubts in society related to the April war will be dispelled. It is clear to me that during the April war there were conspiratorial actions by the enemy. On the Armenian side, there were omissions that we know about and which were analyzed. As for the Ministry of Defense, it’s clear to us what was done and how. ”
Armenia buys new weapons
According to the minister, Armenia is buying only new and modern weapons and will continue to buy in this fashion in 2020.
This topic came up after it became known that Moscow and Yerevan agreed to purchase four SU-30SM multi-functional fighters. The fact is that for the first time in decades, the Armenian Air Force is acquiring new and not used aircraft.
“The planes will arrive in Armenia in December this year or in January-February 2020. They will arrive within the terms indicated by the contract”, Tonoyan noted.
The head of the defense department stipulated that the latest weapons are being acquired from different countries, not just Russia, as it was before, and specified weapons were coming in largely from four countries.
Russia sells aircraft to Armenia at domestic rather than export prices. The Minister confirmed that the supply of new weapons on a loan from Russia will continue according to plan.
Meanwhile, it is already known that the military spending of Armenia in 2020 will increase by 25.3% compared with the past. This was announced at a budget hearing in parliament by the prime minister himself. He pointed out that this will be possible thanks to the effective fight against corruption and the return of stolen funds to the country’s budget.
About the Russian base: “there is no increase in the territory of the base”
According to the Minister of Defense, the Russian military base receives the latest weapons, is equipped with technical means and military personnel.
“The living conditions of the military are also improving,” Tonoyan noted.
At the same time, the minister denied information that the territory of the Russian base is expanding and receiving new land plots.
“There is no and will not be an increase in the territory of the base. According to the agreements, if any area of the base is not used, it will be returned to the Ministry of Defense of Armenia or vice versa. But all this territory is and remains in the jurisdiction of Armenia and is only provided for use.”
Rumors about the increase in the territory of the base were connected with the arrival of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Armenia on October 29.
On the eve of the visit, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov informed Shoigu that in 2020 a multifunctional cultural and leisure center will be created on the territory of the military base in Armenia. In 2021, a special sports complex will be built.