Russian passed to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry a note, in which the country stated about the termination of the operation of the Russian missile early warning system at the Gabala radar station. The reason is that the Azerbaijani authorities demanded from Russia to pay an annual rental fee of not seven million dollars, but 300 million dollars for the rent of the radar station. Russia is not ready to meet such conditions of the partner.
The Gabala radar station Daryal was the most closed-access site of the Russian missile defence system some time ago, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily reported. The radar station is situated about 200 kilometres away from Baku and not far from the Iranian border. Putting it straightforwardly, this is not just a radar station, but a major radio technical hub. When Daryal was only put on combat duty, it was called the triumph of scientific and industrial thought. Since then the technologies advanced much far into the future, but the Gabala radar station can still transmit the daily information about 10,000 space objects. Meanwhile, the radar station can monitor all launches of intercontinental ballistic and tactical missiles right up to the Indian Ocean and Africa. During the Iranian-Iraqi war right from this radar station the Russian leadership received the data about 150 launches of missiles Scud.
The main demand of Azerbaijan is that Russia should pay 300 million dollars every year instead of current seven million dollars for the radar station, the newspaper reported. Russia does not intend to engage in a currency bondage, therefore, the country will most likely refuse from the radar station in Gabala. However, the experts claimed that it is still early to put an end on the negotiations finally.
In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Gabala radar station passed into possession of the country, where it was situated, and became to be called the information analytical centre, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily recalled. But since Azerbaijan did not and does not have an opportunity to run it for its designation over many reasons, the country agreed to lease the radar station to the Russian military. Azerbaijan received an annual rental payment of seven million dollars for the radar station and the payment for the public utility expenses.
The Soviet Union had over ten radar stations of its early missile warning system similar to that in Gabala, the newspaper reported. After 1991 the country has only four such radar stations. Other radar stations turned out to be outside the country. If a radar station in Belarus is left in possession of Russia, other radar stations were passed in possession of new sovereign countries. This situation resulted in the explosion of two radar stations in Latvia's Skrunda, two radar stations in Ukraine, in Nikolayev outside Sevastopol and in Beregov outside Mukachev were passed in possession of the civil authorities of the republican Space Agency, which gradually refused to Moscow to be on combat duty and transmit the information, which is interesting for the Russian Air and Space Defence Troops. Then when Ukraine proposed a too high price for the actually unstable and unreliable information, Russia had to refuse from these radar stations.
The attempts of the Ukrainian nationalistic authorities to pass these radar stations to NATO or the United States failed. However, Russia realized that it is needed to build such radar stations on the territory of the country in order to avoid unnecessary risks.
The Komsomolskaya Pravda daily turned for comments to editor-in-chief of the magazine National Defence, military expert Igor Korotchenko. "This was a blatantly unfriendly act towards Russia on part of Azerbaijan," Korotchenko believes. "Therefore, Baku did not have any economic grounds to raise the annual rental payment 40 times. It is obvious that the country wanted to oust Russia from Gabala, but use purely economic factors for this, setting the price, which Russia was not ready to pay in advance. Baku understood perfectly the importance of this radar station for the security of our country, because the radar station shielded the southern missile direction. Thus, they made us withdraw from there," he underlined.