YEREVAN (A.W.)—Hundreds of activists took to the streets of Yerevan on April 13 to protest Russia’s sale of arms to Azerbaijan, reported several news outlets in Armenia.
During the protest, activists demanded that Russia fulfill its obligations as Armenia’s de jure ally; that it respect the national interests and security of Armenia; and that it immediately stops selling weapons to Azerbaijan, according to Armenia’s News.am. Demonstrators chanted slogans such as “Sovereign Armenia” and “Free and independent Armenia” during the march from Yerevan’s Liberty Square to the Russian Embassy in Armenia.
During a visit to Baku on April 8, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that Moscow will continue to supply weapons to Azerbaijan, fulfilling an arms deal reached between the two countries. Rogozin was responding to a reporter’s question about how he interprets Armenia’s President Serge Sarkisian’s statement about Russian arms sales to Baku, reported Armenia’s Yerkir news service.
“Everything is done in compliance with the contracts. Both these countries are our strategic partners,” Rogozin was quoted as saying by the Russian news agency TASS. Rogozin co-chairs the Russian-Azerbaijani bilateral intergovernmental commission.
In recent years, Russia has continued to sell arms—estimated at $4 billion—to Azerbaijan.
On April 7, Sarkisian met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and stressed that Azerbaijan had made full use of the weapons purchased from Russia. Sarkisian noted that because Russia is perceived as Armenia’s “closest ally and friend,” news of Baku’s use of Russian-sold modern weapons had offended the Armenian public, reported ArmeniaNow.
“Dmitry Anatolievich, I’m sure you know that the fact that the Azerbaijanis used in full weapons that they acquired in Russia recently has had a lot of resonance in Armenia,” Sarkisian reportedly told Medvedev during the meeting. “This is natural because the people of Armenia consider Russia to be our closest ally and friend.”
“Now there is a situation in which we do not exclude another provocation… Without having any great illusions, we expect from the Minsk Group co-chairs and our allies targeted statements and concrete actions,” Sarkisian was quoted as saying.
According to ArmeniaNow, Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan met with his Russian counterpart and called for the acceleration of the planned delivery of Russian weapons, estimated to value $200 million.
Below is video footage from the protest.