January 30

The visit of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu to Armenia is
over. This was Shoygu's first trip abroad in his capacity as Defense
Minister. According to the Defense Ministry, it was a scheduled visit,
although it took place amid increased tensions around the Karabakh
conflict, "wrote "Nezavisimaya Gazeta", Russia.

According to the source, Moscow is deeply concerned about official
Baku's statements that Azerbaijani air defense was ordered to shoot
down civilian planes that "illegally enter its airspace". By saying
its "airspace", Baku means the airspace of Nagorno Karabakh as well.

Russian experts say this stance of Baku may lead to a war.

Such a possibility arose after in 2010 Russia sold two batteries of
"Favorite" anti-aircraft missile systems to Azerbaijan instead of Iran.

Sources of the Russian Defense Ministry say that after the negotiations
between Baku and Moscow over the lease of Gabala radar station had
collapsed, President Putin revoked the decision to sell a third
battery to Azerbaijan.

The mass media did not report whether Shoygu spoke about the
possibility of the Stepanakert airport's official opening during his
meetings with Seerzh Sargsyan and Armenian Defense Minister Seyran
Ohanian. The Russian Ministry sources say, however, that on the
unofficial level the Russian delegation members advised Armenians
against doing such a thing. At the same time during the negotiations,
special attention was paid to discussion of the details of the
draft agreement on military-technical cooperation between Russia
and Armenia. The heads of the two countries are expected to sign the
agreement in the near future.

"Eventually, Russia sets its face towards Armenia, its main and
strategic ally in the South Caucasus. Strengthening Armenia's
military potential is a guarantee of stability in the region. This
is a deterrent against Azerbaijan that tries to solve the Karabakh
problem by military means," Lieutenant General Yuri Netkachev said.

From: A. Papazian