Armenia raises issue of Russian arms sales to Azerbaijan at CSTO body’s gathering in Yerevan

Armenian lawmakers raised concerns over “allied” arms deliveries to Azerbaijan during the session of the Committee on Defense and Security of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) that was held in Yerevan on Wednesday.

At a press conference later that day Khosrov Harutyunyan, a member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia’s faction in the parliament who coordinated the meeting, said that he and other Armenian members of the committee pointed to the fact that Russia as well as Belarus have been selling large amounts of weapons to Armenia’s arch-foe Azerbaijan.

“During today’s meeting an issue was raised to the effect that whether it’s time to work out a legal mechanism that would prevent such supplies in the future,” said Harutyunyan as he appeared before the media together with Russian chairman of the committee Anatoly Vyborny.

The Russian official, for his part, said that he shares Armenia’s concerns over Azerbaijan’s armament, but stressed that as a member of the CSTO Russia meets all its obligations to any state.

“There is no regulatory act or agreement that would suggest that Russia cannot sell weapons to Azerbaijan. This issue was raised by Armenian parliamentarians as they are apparently concerned over the matter. We share their concerns and will raise the questions from the point of view of further development of international relations, including with CSTO member states,” said Vyborny.

The complaints voiced by Armenian lawmakers concern the recent reported Russian arms supplies to Azerbaijan worth $1 billion that included tanks, artillery systems and other offensive weapons. The deal elicited some angry reactions among Armenian politicians and political analysts, bringing forth opinions that Russia had thus betrayed its main regional ally. Official Yerevan, however, stopped short of publicly criticizing Moscow, with government members implying that the arms sales to Baku would be offset by continued Russian military assistance to Armenia.