YEREVAN (Itar-Tass)–Joint tactical maneuvers of the Russian and Armenian armies began on Thursday on the Marshal Bagramyan Training Ground in Armavir region–western Armenia. It was agreed to hold these exercises during Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev’s June visit to Armenia.
Taking part in the maneuvers are units from the Russian military base in Armenia–deployed there in keeping with an agreement concluded between the governmen’s of the two countries. They are intended to practice defense actions of a motorized infantry unit–repulsion of an "enemy offensive and counter-attack to regain lost territory." The maneuvers are directed by Commander of the Group of Russian Troops in Transcaucasia Lieutenant-General Vladimir Andreyev and Armenian Deputy Defense Minister Lieutenant-General Mkrtich Abramyan.
Staff exercises of the republic’s armed forces with the participation of territorial military registration and enlistment offices will be held in the eastern part of Armenia in the second half of October– Itar-Tass was told at the Information Department of the Armenian Defense Ministry. The exercises will be held in keeping with the operational training program–ministry officials noted.
Itar-Tass dispatches from Baku indicate that Azerbaijan is disturbed by these exercises. Azerbaijani State Counsellor for Foreign Policy Vafa Gulizade told Itar-Tass that "this concern is explained by the fact that the joint Russo-Armenian exercises are bound to increase the combat capacity of the Armenian armed forces–i.e. of a state with which Azerbaijan is–in fact–at war in spite of the more than four-years-long armistice."
He said that it was "disturbing that Russia–which is Co-Chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group for Nagorno-Karabakh–has at the same time become Armenia’s military ally." Gulizade believes extremely undesirable the conclusion of this alliance at the time when the Armenian- Azerbaijan conflict remains unsettled.