Swiss Ambassador to Armenia Lukas Gasser: Switzerland will try to contribute to a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict without questioning the established formats such as the OSCE Minsk process
by David Stepanyan
The new supplies of Russian military hardware to Azerbaijan totally meet the latest geopolitical changes in the region, Manvel Sargsyan, Director of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies, says in his interview with ArmInfo.
To note, Kurganmashzavod has recently started manufacturing Vena 2S31 at the order of Azerbaijan. The plant has launched the production of 18 systems. The 2S31 Vena is a Russian self-propelled 120 mm mortar/cannon mounted on the chassis of a BMP-3 infantry combat vehicle. The weapon system is equipped with digital automated fire control system, navigation system, and optical/electronic reconnaissance and target acquisition system. Mortar mines (up to 7.2 km range) and cannon shells (up to 13 km range) can be used, including guided, HEAT, smoke, and thermobaric munitions.
Manvel Sargsyan thinks that it is not a business. "These supplies of Russian weapons are a part of the well-considered Russian policy aimed at making Azerbaijan dependent on weapon supplies. By the political decision to supply Azerbaijan with Russian arms, Moscow is trying to strengthen its levers of pressure on Baku, because Russia is concerned about the supplies of Israeli and Turkish military hardware to Azerbaijan", says the analyst.
He thinks that the Russian weapon supplies to Azerbaijan are also connected with the Iranian factor conditioned by the revolutionary changes in Tehran's relations with the United States and Israel. Iran was considered as the West's rival and Turkey as the West's ally. Armenia was a counterweight in the system of these relations. Meanwhile, now that Iran has even decided to recognize Holocaust, Azerbaijan will not play the same role as before, and this cannot help influencing Russia's policy towards Azerbaijan, Sargsyan says.
"‚aku is surely tracing all these changes and understands its significance. To all appearances, Baku wants to receive preferences as weapons for its game at Russia's bidding", says Sargsyan.