One stated that Armenia must 'win without war’, while the other promised ‘military surprises’
Ceremonies for graduates of military schools took place in Yerevan earlier today, during which time the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Minister of Defence Tonoyan made several surprising bold statements about war.
The Prime Minister reminded graduates of the Chinese military strategy that “talented commanders win without war.” Nikol Pashinyan believes that Armenia needs to move precisely in this direction:
“We need our armed forces to be in such a state so that all potential adversaries understand that it is pointless to fight with us. The result of the struggle is one — the defeat of the enemy and our vicTory.”
Statements were also made by Defence Minister David Tonoyan after the end of the ceremony in a conversation with journalists, during which time he said to expect “military surprises” – that is, new types of weapons.
What ‘surprises’ are in Tor
One of the most talked about defence topics in Armenia is the addition of Russian fighters and Tor anti-aircraft missile systems.
The minister confirmed that an order for four SU-30 SM fighters is being filled – every fighter is worth approximately $22 million, which Armenia bought with both credit and reserve funds.
“According to the contract, we expect the fulfillment of the obligations of the manufacturers at the end of this year or the beginning of the next.”
It remains to assume that speaking of “surprises” David Tonoyan meant the Tor anti-aircraft missile systems.
Talk about the expected replenishment of the Arsenal of the Armed Forces by these weapons began after the broadcast of the TV program Zinuzh [Arm. Armed forces] of the First Channel of Armenia.
The Russian Thor anti-aircraft missile system was developed for tactical defense of troops and civilian targets from air strikes. It is designed to protect against various types of missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, aerial bombs, airplanes and helicopters. Moreover, the complex can operate in automatic mode, that is, it can, without the participation of personnel, simultaneously fight against air attacks of any spectrum, including from high-precision missiles.
The public broadcaster issued this information last May.
The minister was unable to give a clear idea of when the weapons will be delivered, however:
“I can say that Tor is a very interesting weapon. We have appropriate expectations.”
Pilot program and its first results
The head of the Ministry of Defence also spoke about a pilot programme in the Armed Forces, which is meant to improve the quality of food in the army. The provision of food for military personnel has been shifted to commercial companies, which will be selected on a competitive basis.
The programme is already operating in four military units of Armenia. In the near future, another will be added. The programme will run for three years at first.
“Now only the company has started catering, the other five will start working soon. And in the course of their work, the number of military units, where the food supply will be held on a new model, will increase”, Tonoyan said.
He commented on the fact that the head of an existing company is his close friend:
“I do not deny that the head of the company, at my request, is doing this, because I did not have another reliable option.”
Recently, the quality of food of one of the military units, which is included in the pilot program, was personally checked by the Prime Minister.
On tension on the border
David Tonoyan touched upon the shelling of the Armenian village of Yelpin in the Vayots Dzor region.
Tonoyan says that along some parts of the border there is tension associated with engineering work at the border, but that there is no cause for concern:
“The shot was not targeted. In any case, we took all measures; we also established contact with our neighbors from Nakhchivan to avoid a repetition of the incident.”
The hotline that was used during the incident was agreed upon last year at a meeting in Dushanbe by the Prime Minister of Armenia and the President of Azerbaijan.
Tonoyan explained how this relationship works:
“[If] there is an incident, we check, we warn, the other side takes measures. This is an intermediary connection, we speak with the help of appointed officials. This is a normal, very positive process.”
On a recent casualty
On July 20 an accident occurred in the Armenian army – a conscript was found with a fatal gunshot wound.
On her Facebook page, the head of the Information and Public Relations Department of the Investigation Committee Naira Harutyunyan said:
“In the eighth garrison investigation department, a criminal case was initiated on part 1 of Article 110 (bringing to suicide) the Criminal Code of Armenia. The investigation is underway.”
The Minister of Defence stated on this occasion that the number of similar incidents is now decreasing. But, in his opinion, there are still flaws in the system, which in this case did not allow his superiors to react to the grave psychological state of the deceased soldier:
“It was necessary to work better. The relevant instructions have now been given, I cannot say anything more, since the preliminary investigation is underway.”