The acting prime minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, has stated that Russian soldiers are now stationed in two new locations in Armenia’s Syunik region close to the country’s border with Azerbaijan. The acting prime minister indicated that the soldiers were there to reinforce his country’s security.
“I think it is not a secret that 2 new bases of the Russian 102nd military base have been established in Syunik region, the establishment of these new bases is an additional guarantee to ensure the security of Syunik region in general,” Pashinyan stated yesterday (3 May) in the Armenian National Assembly.
Pashinyan also reiterated his comments from last month, that the security system of the Republic of Armenia is based on joint Russian-Armenian military co-operation.
Armenia’s Syunik region separates Azerbaijan from its western exclave, Nakhchivan. Syunik, sometimes referred to by Azerbaijanis as Zangezur, has been in the spotlight recently due to the prospect of a transport corridor running through it to connect Azerbaijan with its exclave – an idea emanating from the provisions of the 10 November trilateral agreement that ended the 44-day war. Yerevan recently criticised a statement made by the Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, for appearing to suggest that Azerbaijan would implement the corridor unilaterally by force were Armenia not to co-operate.
Whilst a Russian military contingent was deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor (connecting the region with Armenia) as part of the 10 November agreement, the 102nd Russian Military Base in Gyumri – in the north-west of Armenia – was established well before the recent war.