Russian ECA financed weapons in Armenia risk escalation of hostilities

(VESTNIK, Moscow, 13 August 2018) Arms supplies on credit are a usual practice. Almost all countries involved in the sphere of military-technical cooperation practice it. The reasons for this may be different, but usually they are of purely political nature: this is the way a country that provides a state export credit for the purchase of weapons produced in the same country indicates that the recipient country is considered as if not an ally, then a very close partner, friend, the Independent Military Review writes. That's who the Republic of Armenia (RA) was for Russia for a long time. Yerevan received both political and military support (including the Russian military base) and economic preferences from Moscow. The Kremlin's position on Nagorno-Karabakh was also quite clear. That is why no one was surprised when in 2015 the Russian Federation agreed to provide the RA with a $200 million loan to buy weapons. Last month, deliveries under this loan agreement, which entered into force in February 2016, were completed. In recent years, the balance of forces in the South Caucasus has been violated because of the growing military power of Azerbaijan, which threatened the resumption of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Arms supplies from Russia will help to slow down the escalation of the conflict, bringing the military advantage of one of the parties to an approximate equality. But not everyone is happy to see the military-technical cooperation of Moscow and Yerevan. According to a Worldwide Threats Assessment report of the director of US National Intelligence Daniel Coats, "both sides' reluctance to compromise, mounting domestic pressures, Azerbaijan's steady military modernization, and Armenia's acquisition of new Russian equipment sustain the risk of large-scale hostilities in 2018."