YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Hundreds of Armenian and Russian soldiers are holding week-long military exercises in central Armenia that are aimed at testing and boosting their interoperability.
In a statement, the press office of Russia’s Southern Military District said the “tactical” exercises, which began on Monday, involve two battalions from the Russian military base in Armenia and the Armenian army’s special Peacekeeping Brigade. The latter contributes troops to ongoing NATO-led missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo.
“During a simulation of hostilities, the servicemen will repel attacks, go on the offensive and destroy the retreating detachments as well as a detected sabotage-reconnaissance squad of the imaginary enemy,” said the statement. The participating troops are backed up by tanks, helicopters and various artillery systems, including long-range Russian Giatsint cannons.
According to the statement, the purpose of the war games taking place near Mount Aragats is to “improve coordination of command centers in combat operations.”
The Armenian Defense Ministry has issued no statements on the drills yet.
Russia and Armenia practice joint military operations on a regular basis in line with their close military ties. Soldiers from the two nations also train together within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russian-led military alliance of six former Soviet republics. Armenia hosted CSTO exercises in September last year.