ArmInfo. Only the surrender of Karabakh can give reality to the prospects for Armenia's entry into NATO. Deputy Director of the Institute of CIS Countries, military expert Vladimir Yevseyev expressed this opinion to ArmInfo.
"I can say that this is exactly what the United States and the United Kingdom are seeking today. From this point of view, it is very important to understand that even in the case of the theoretical disappearance of Nagorno-Karabakh from the map of de facto independent states, the Russian military bases will not appear in Azerbaijan. The Turkish military are already present there. And this is despite the fact that this is prohibited by the Constitution of the Republic. And of course, Baku will not want to deploy our military on its territory, knowing full well how it will affect its relations with the West, "he stressed.
In this light, the expert considers the 102nd Russian military base (RMB), located in Armenian Gyumri, as an outpost of Russia in the South Caucasus of exceptional importance. According to his estimates, the Russian bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia cannot replace the full-scale military base in Gyumri with its serious aviation component. The 102nd RMB is unique in the view of Yevseyev, and in its ability to restrain Turkey's regional ambitions.
In addition to the most powerful deterrent factor in Turkey, the 102nd Russian military base, according to an expert, gives Russia the ability to influence the entire region, the supply of weapons to Armenia, conduct military exercises in the republic, and deter attempts by radical Islamists to influence the countries of the region. Accordingly, according to his forecasts, the withdrawal of the base from Armenia will lead to a sharp decrease in the influence of Moscow in the South Caucasus, which can entail a threat to the security of the subjects of the Russian Federation in the North Caucasus.
According to the expert, Armenia and Artsakh will not be able to draw out the 102nd RMB, since under the conditions of a significant increase in Turkey's influence on Armenia, Azerbaijan may well decide to attempt to seize all the territories of Artsakh. According to Yevseyev, in this case we can expect provocations on the Armenian-Turkish border from Nakhichevan, where the Turkish military are already present. It is Nakhichevan that can become an auxiliary base of Azerbaijan for the start of the war with Armenia over Karabakh.
The 102nd Russian military base in Armenia was established on September 1, 1994 on the basis of the 127th motorized rifle division of the Transcaucasian Military District. On March 16, 1995, an agreement was signed in Moscow regulating the activities of the base in Armenia with a term of 25 years. In August 2010, Protocol N5 was signed on extending the term of the Russian-Armenian treaty to 49 years - until 2044. Moscow rents the base for free, moreover, the base is partially maintained at the expense of Armenia. The total number of military personnel of the 102nd base is about 5 thousand people. The base is equipped with 74 tanks, 17 infantry fighting vehicles, 148 armored personnel carriers, 84 artillery systems, S-300 and S-200 anti-aircraft missile systems. In 2012, over 200, compatible with GLONASS and GPS navigation systems, modern Perun, Grot, and Breeze navigators entered service. Since 2001, 18, based on the Erebuni airport in Yerevan, Russian MiG-29s, as well as Russian air defense systems in Armenia, have taken up permanent joint combat duty.
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