Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan spoke about the deployment of Russian missile complexes «Iskander» and called the move a forced measure, connected with the intensification of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
«I think it was a necessary measure to somehow balance the military situation in our region,» said Sargsyan in an interview to RIA «Novosti».
According to him, «it is no secret that Azerbaijan over the last few years, regularly acquired the latest weapons». «We have no such opportunities as Azerbaijan, I mean financial resources, but we always try to balance the situation, finding the antidote. I think in this case, «Iskander» is just such an antidote,» said the Armenian leader.
He added that, «of course, the arms race is a bad situation» and the Armenian authorities do not wish to participate in it, but they have conditions. «What if every day you are threatened with war and physical extermination. You have to take appropriate steps,» said Sargsyan.
He recalled that Russia has with Armenia «there is an agreement about maintaining the balance of power in the region.» «I think that Russia, upon this, went to meet our request and provided us this perfect in the military system,» — said the Armenian President.
The emergence of «Iskander» systems in Armenia became known in September of this year, although, according to some, they entered service in the Armenian army earlier and was put in readiness during the April escalation of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The first information about the location of «Iskander» in the territory of Armenia appeared in the press back in 2013, but then were talking about the fact that the PTRC adopted by the 102nd Russian military base. In September, it was officially stated that the weapon is the property of the Armenian armed forces.
On 21 September 2016, the Russian system was first demonstrated at the military parade in Yerevan in honor of the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s independence. The next day the press Secretary of the Armenian defense Ministry Artsrun Hovhannisyan said that the supply of «Iskander» is not included in the scope of supply of the Russian weapons on the loan 200 million dollars, he has not announced details of the transaction.
The number of divisions «Iskander» in the Armenian armed forces was not reported, but according to the media, we are talking about one division with four launchers (two missiles each). It was noted that the range of installation is about 300 km.
The presence of «Iskander» in the Armenian armed forces was called «a very important and powerful deterrent in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, minimize the probability of escalation.»
At the same time, the emergence of such weapons in Yerevan caused alarm not only in Azerbaijan but also in Turkey. In addition, the media wrote that «in case of resumption of hostilities in Nagorno Karabakh Yerevan can use «Iskander» and «Points» to strike at such objects of strategic importance, as the Mingechevir dam and an oil pipeline of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, why suffer and Georgia.»
Currently Armenia is the only one, except Russia, a country that has missiles «Iskander». In 2005 a contract was signed for the supply of «Iskander» to Syria, but it has not been made at the request of the government of Israel.
Earlier it was reported that the Russian defense Ministry has confirmed the transfer of PTRC «Iskander-M» in Kaliningrad oblast. The statement of the official representative of the Ministry Igor Konashenkov said that the defense Ministry has repeatedly deployed «Iskander» in the Kaliningrad region bordering Poland and Lithuania, and intends to do so in the future «in the framework of combat training».
NATO has sharply criticized Russia’s actions.
«Iskander» mobile ballistic missiles, which came to replace the Soviet missiles «Scud» (R-17). Two missiles have a range of up to 500 km and can carry conventional or nuclear warheads.
Armenia’s President called the deployment of Russian Iskander missiles in the country «a necessary step» 17.11.2016