YEREVAN (AFP) — Armenia and Russia signed a deal Friday extending the presence of Russian forces here by decades, bolstering Moscow’s military clout in the strategic South Caucasus region.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Armenian counterpart Serge Sargisian oversaw the signing of the deal in Yerevan during a visit by the Russian leader.
The agreement will see Moscow extend its lease on a military base in Armenia from 2020 to 2044 and upgrade the mission of the estimated 3,000 Russian troops stationed there to include providing for Armenia’s security.
It also calls for Russia to assist Armenia in securing arms and modern military equipment.
Medvedev used the signing of the deal to signal that Russia still considers itself the leading power in the region.
“Russia’s task as the largest and most powerful state in the region… consists of maintaining peace and order,” he said.