Ambassador Sergei Kopyrkin

Armenia Reports First Delivery of ‘Delayed’ Russian Weapons

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By Ruzanna Stepanian

YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — After repeated delays, Russia has delivered to Armenia the first batch of weapons envisaged by bilateral defense contracts signed after the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh, according to senior Armenian lawmakers on January 16.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his political allies have repeatedly complained about those delays amid Armenia’s worsening relations with Russia. Deputy Defense Minister Hrachya Sargsyan said in early December that Yerevan paid Russia’s state-owned arms manufacturers $400 million but has still not received any military equipment so far. He too declined to specify the types of weaponry that are listed in those contracts.

Andranik Kocharyan, the chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on defense and security, said late last week that some of those weapons have been delivered to Armenia.

“[The Russians] are giving us something, not on a scale anticipated by us in line with the volume of the signed contracts,” Kocharyan told Armenian Public Television. “But I’m sure that things will be sorted out in the process.”

Gagik Melkonyan, another pro-government member of the parliament committee, confirmed on Tuesday the first delivery of the Russian weapons, saying that it was carried out “recently.”

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Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service, Melkonyan claimed to be unaware of what exactly was supplied to the Armenian army. The Armenian Defense Ministry also did not shed light on that.

Russia’s ambassador to Armenia, Sergei Kopyrkin, acknowledged late last month “issues” in the implementation of Russian-Armenian arms deals. He implied that Russian defense companies have not fulfilled their contractual obligations on time because of having to manufacture more weapons for the Russian military embroiled in the ongoing war with Ukraine.

“But these are working issues that are resolved in the dialogue between relevant agencies of Russia and Armenia,” Kopyrkin told the TASS news agency. The two sides are now also “discussing new agreements in the field of military-technical cooperation,” he said without elaborating.

Russia has long been Armenia’s main supplier of weapons and ammunition. But with no end in sight to the war in Ukraine and tensions between Moscow and Yerevan continuing to grow, the Armenian government is increasingly looking for other arms suppliers.

Since September 2022 it has reportedly signed a number of defense contracts with India worth at least $400 million. In October 2023, it also signed two arms deals with France. Pashinyan and members of his political team say that this is part of their broader efforts to “diversify” Armenia’s defense and security policy. They regularly accuse Moscow of not honoring its security commitments to Armenia.

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