YEREVAN (A.W.)— According to Armenia’s Finance Minister Vardan Aramyan, Armenia is discussing the possibility of receiving another loan, which would be spent on buying Russian weapons, reported RFE/RL’s Armenian service.
While speaking at a press conference, Aramyan explained that talks on this issue had begun earlier this year but declined to specify the amount.
Two years ago, Russia lent Armenia $200 million for arms acquisitions from Russian manufacturers. The Russian government then publicized a list of items Armenia is allowed to purchase with the money. Some of the weapons included on this list include the Smerch multiple-launch rocket system, anti-tank weapons, and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.
Acceding to Aramyan, the Armenian government has already spent $170 million of the low-interest loan. He confirmed that the arms supplies financed from the loan are carried out at internal Russian prices that are set well below the international market prices. These discounts are available for Armenia due to its military alliance with Russia.
The close alliance has not prevented Russia from also selling billions of dollars worth of weapons to Azerbaijan in recent years, though. Sales to Azerbaijan continued even after Armenian leaders voiced their opposition following the 2016 April War.
According to an interview with Armenia TV over the weekend, Armenian President Serge Sarkisian expressed Yerevan’s ongoing discontent with the Russian-Azerbaijani arms deals.
The President explained that if there were serious consequences, the Russians could be blamed, but that since there has not been, the Russians are being looked at as the stabilizers of the region. When asked if he would reconsider Armenia’s relationship with Russia and decrease cooperation, Sarkisian said that is a path which could be “extremely dangerous” for Armenia.