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President: Russia's Iskander missile systems in Armenia to maintain balance in region

November 17, 2016, 13:36 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Vladimir Putin earlier issued a directive to sign an agreement on the establishment of the Russian-Armenian Combined Force

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© Mkhitar Khachatrian/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, November 17. /TASS/.  The deployment of Russia’s Iskander missile systems in Armenia was a necessary step designed to maintain balance in the region, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan told the Rossiya 24 TV channel on Thursday.

"It’s no secret that Azerbaijan has regularly bought state-of-the-art weaponry over the past several years. We don’t have such financial possibilities as Azerbaijan. We have been constantly trying to balance the situation by acquiring an antidote. Iskander is this antidote," the president said.

Iskander missile systems were first shown at a military parade in Armenia’s capital Yerevan on September 21.

Iskander tactical ballistic missile systems are capable of hitting both small-size and large-area targets at a distance of up to 500 km to destroy missile and multiple launch rocket systems, long-range artillery guns, aircraft and helicopters at aerodromes, command posts and communications centers.

No need for new Russian military base in Armenia 

Sargsyan said there is no need to have another Russian military base in that country.

"We need just to build up the capability of the existing base," he said.

Joint force

The creation of a joint force comprising Russian and Armenian troops in the Caucasus collective security region will be good news, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan told the Rossiya 24 TV channel.

"We used to have a joint contingent, but this is a positive development, because our military-technical and military-political cooperation is steadily advancing. This is good news," he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier issued a directive to sign an agreement on the establishment of the Russian-Armenian Combined Force. An order to this effect was made public on November 14.

The draft agreement suggests that the two countries will create a combined force capable of ensuring "an adequate response to an armed attack (aggression)" and "other challenges and threats to the parties’ security."

The document noted that the agreement is "not directed against any third countries."

The agreement is to be valid for five years and will be automatically extended, if none of the parties declares its intention to withdraw from it.

On November 16, Armenian Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan said that he is planning to visit Russia in the near future to sign an agreement on the two countries’ Combined Force.

In December 2015, Russia and Armenia reached an agreement on establishing the Combined Regional Air Defense System.

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