YEREVAN—Armenia’s National Assembly ratified a new Russian-Armenian agreement on a joint military force on Oct. 5. Under the agreement signed late last year, “the united group of troops” is tasked with “ensuring military security in the region” and thwarting or repelling possible foreign aggression against Armenia or Russia.
Accoridng to an RFE/RL Armenian service report, the joint contingent comprises troops from the Russian military base in Armenia and an Armenian army corps. It has been led by Armenian army generals since its creation in 2001.
The Armenian Parliament approved the treaty, ratified by Russia’s Parliament this summer, by 87 votes to seven. All of the parliamentarians who voted against the accord were from the opposition Yelk bloc.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Eduard Sharmazanov, who is a spokesperson for the ruling Republican Party (RPA), insisted that the Russian-Armenian military force will boost Armenia’s security. Following the vote, he said that the agreement will defend the country in case of a military attack by Turkey or Azerbaijan.
“If a tense situation erupts on Armenia’s borders and if Armenia appeals to its allies—Russia and the [Collective Security Treaty Organization]—they will be obliged, under the CSTO statutes, to intervene and defend Armenia…. The same will be true for that military force, if necessary,” Sharmazanov told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.