Caucasus Reality 8 august — 12:13

Russian-Armenian grouping under Putin's command (Our reaction)

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BY FARHAD MAMMADOV, INFORMATION SECTION

The agreement on a joint grouping of Russian and Armenian troops, signed on August 6, 2016, came into force. On July 26, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree ratifying this treaty. It's not really clear, though, what this agreement really means, since there has been a Russian military base in the territory of Armenia for a long time with a powerful military grouping. Also, the treaty on military alliance signed long ago between the two countries provides for a long-term guarantee of the protection of the borders of Armenia and ensuring its security by Russia.

The current agreement will further reduce Armenia's sovereignty, and despite the boastful claims of Armenian generals, there are no points in the agreement authorising Serzh Sargsyan to use a joint grouping of Russian and Armenian troops in a possible war with Azerbaijan.

The main tasks of the joint grouping, according to the agreement, include the timely disclosure of immediate preparation of an armed attack (aggression) against the Russian Federation and Armenia and its repulsing; covering the overland part of the state border of both states within the established limits of responsibility; participation in the protection of the state border of the Russian Federation and Armenia in the airspace, as well as participation in the air defence of troops and critical facilities of both countries located in the region.

The agreement defines the procedure for appointing the commander of the grouping, his powers and subordination in peacetime and wartime, as well as the formation of a joint command during the immediate threat of aggression or in time of war, and, finally, the creation of a unified command and control system for the grouping. The decision on the deployment and application of the joint grouping is made jointly by the supreme commanders-in-chief of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and Armenia.

In other words, the use of this grouping in military operations in Karabakh, as boasted by the commander of the 5th army corps of the armed forces of Armenia, part of the joint grouping of the Russian-Armenian troops, General Andranik Makaryan, according to the agreement, is impossible.

'If I send the troops of the grouping to Karabakh, then Putin will not be able to order me not to attack,' Andranik Makaryan said then.

There is no such clause in the agreement on the joint grouping, the use of this group is possible only with the consent of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In addition, there is no point in this agreement that would allow the grouping to be used outside the borders of Armenia. The same grouping will not be able to take part in operations to protect Russia's land borders, in view of the absence of common borders between Armenia and Russia. This means only one thing: the grouping is intended for the defence of the borders of Armenia.

Undoubtedly, the joint grouping of Russian-Armenian troops will have some influence on the military-political situation in the region. But since Azerbaijan does not plan to conduct military operations in the territory of Armenia, there are no grounds for fearing that this group will be involved in large-scale military operations in Karabakh.

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