As Yerevan demonstrates the Russian-made Iskander missile systems during the rehearsal of its military parade dedicated to the Independence Day, the country’s media are flooded with this news. It is not surprising, considering that Armenia has actually become the first country to receive Iskander short-range ballistic missile systems.
Experts have different views when it comes to Armenia’s opportunities to use these missiles. Some experts say Iskander systems will become a restraining factor for Azerbaijan in the Karabakh conflict, while others say, “these missiles will not be used against Azerbaijan.”
Military expert Alexander Perenjiyev agrees with the assertion, though with some reservation. The expert does not link the supply of Iskander systems to the threat coming from Azerbaijan.
“Yerevan is Russia’s ally in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and we are building a common system of security that includes various components. The supply of Iskanders should be considered in this context,” Perenjiyev told EADaily.
In his words, Russia cannot supply Iskander missiles to Azerbaijan for various reasons, including because Baku is not a CSTO member. “Azerbaijan is just a partner of Russia, not an ally,” he said.
At the same time, the expert admits that the supply of Iskander systems should be considered also in the context of the tense situation in the Karabakh conflict zone, the threat of repetition of the April war, and the militarist statements by Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov saying, they are ready “to attack Stepanakert at any moment.”
“In this sense, I think, if there is real threat to the security of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, Yerevan can use Iskander missile systems at its own discretion. The existence of Iskander systems is an essential factor. It is no secret that Russia supplies arms to Azerbaijan too to keep the military balance. However, Russia supplies arms to its ally Armenia nearly without compensation, while Baku pays for it. Such an interesting policy Russia wages in the region,” Perenjiyev said for conclusion.