BAKU (Armenpress)–Azerbaijan’s defense ministry has dismissed media rumors that the country has allegedly signed a contract to import Russian arms and other military hardware.
An official statement by the ministry’s press-service says that “no such agreemen’s were signed between the defense Ministries of Russia and Azerbaijan lately and no armamen’s have been acquired.”
“All statemen’s to the contrary are speculations devoid of any foundation,” the statement runs.
Some media earlier this week claimed Azerbaijan had signed a contract with the Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexoport for the import of 70 new BTR-80 armored personnel carriers. Russian sources reported Wednesday that Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan signed contracts with Russia to buy new armored vehicles, and Kazakhstan could also sign agreemen’s on the repair of the Russian-made MiG-29 Fulcrum and MiG-31 Foxhound fighters.
In July, Russia’s state-run arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, signed a contract to deliver about 70 new BTR-80 armored personnel carriers to Azerbaijan. Some time before that, it agreed to deliver the same number of APCs to Kazakhstan.
The sale of 140 APCs to Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan would earn Russia at least $40 million.
“Russia traditionally supplies armament to both Armenia and Azerbaijan, therefore, the last delivery will change nothing in the balance of forces between the countries involved in the territorial conflict,” said an independent Russian military expert, Pavel Felgenhower, adding that if Azerbaijan wanted to equip its Army with new armament, it should purchase it in the West at a higher price.
Another well-known military expert Uzeir Jafarov said that the contract on purchase of such quantity of BTRs from Russia confirmed the suspicions that Azerbaijan will still be long integrated into NATO only in word. “It has become a bad tradition to pass off the old equipment, acquired in CIS countries after an overhaul, as a new one.”