Did Russians transfer $800 mln worth of arms to Armenia?

On January 8, MediaForum.az uploaded what looks like a two-page secret unsigned undated attachment on the letterhead of a Russian general – Viacheslav Golovchenko, deputy commander of the Russian forces in the Caucasus – that lists the types of weapons allegedly transferred from Russian base in Armenia to Armenian defense ministry.

Secret Document
Page 1, list of arms which Azerbaijani sources allege were transferred to Armenia by Russian army.

The document, which contains at least two typos and looks more like forgery than real,  lists as transferred: 21 tanks; 61 armored combat vehicles; 50 units of self-propelled and towed artillery; 9 MLRS systems; various air defense systems; light weapons; ammunition stockpiles; and equipment.
Azerbaijani sources claimed, that the documents proves $800 million worth of ‘illegal’ arms transfer from Russian military base stationed in Gyumri, Armenia.
The Azerbaijan ministry of foreign affairs has issued a statement yesterday, which says: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan expresses deep concern over this fact because transferred ammunition will considerably strengthen military potential of the country, which occupied a part of Azerbaijan’s territory. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan considers that the arms transfer will make the occupation to develop and to strengthen.
Furthermore, the report says: ” The arms transfer is a direct violation of UN Security Council resolutions on Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict and UN General Assembly resolution on the situation on occupied territories of Azerbaijan adopted on March 14, 2008. The question is about that Russia violates its obligations not to support any measures taken for developing and strengthening the occupation of Azerbaijani territories.”
Page 2, list of arms which Azerbaijani sources allege were transferred to Armenia by Russian army.
Page 2, list of arms which Azerbaijani sources allege were transferred to Armenia by Russian army.

There has so far been no response from either Russian or Armenian sides asserting or rejecting the allegations. It would have been excellent news if proved true, but I’m skeptical.
Furthermore, as Yandunts has noted, earlier in 2008, Russia reported to the United Nations that it transferred dozens of tanks and armored vehicles to Azerbaijan, but the Armenian side made no fuss about it. Now, watching the Azerbaijani reaction, one can’t help but wonder, why on earth didn’t the Armenian Foreign Ministry grab the opportunity on Russian-Azerbaijani arms deal? There’s clearly a lot that our foreign policy makers could learn from Azerbaijan.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant

1 Comment

  1. RFE/RL reports that Russia denied the claims on Wednesday and Armenia rejected them earlier in the week. However, I think they could worded their response differently… “I don’t remember any [weapons] acquisitions in recent years.” Surely it’s not so hard to check.

    Russia on Wednesday denied Azerbaijani media reports that it supplied Armenia with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military hardware and other weapons free of charge last year.
    The document, signed by a deputy commander of Russia’s North Caucasus Military District, contained a long list of armaments allegedly handed over to the Armenian military. Those included 21 battle tanks, 50 armored vehicles, about 40 artillery systems and more than 4,000 automatic rifles along with large quantities of ammunition.
    The Itar-Tass news agency quoted a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Aleksandr Drobyshevsky, as denying the alleged transfer of weapons. “Reports about that do not correspond to reality,” Drobyshevsky said. He added that Moscow will officially respond to Baku “very soon.”
    The Armenian Defense Ministry denied the Azerbaijani reports earlier this week. “Armenia is a member of the [Russian-led] Collective Treaty Organization (CSTO) and we have military contacts with Russia,” a ministry spokesman, Seyran Shahsuvarian, told journalists. “But I don’t remember any [weapons] acquisitions in recent years.”
    Membership in the CSTO entitles Armenia to receiving Russian weapons at cut-down prices or even free of charge. It is believed to heavily rely on close military ties with Russia in the intensifying arms race with oil-rich Azerbaijan.


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