On February 20, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) published its report on trends in international arms transfers. Among other issues, the report also addresses the arms trade imbalance between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the amounts of weapons and ammunition sold to Baku by Moscow.
Armenia and Azerbaijan: Comparison
According to the report, in 2012-2016, Azerbaijan imported 75% more weapons and ammunition compared to 2007-2011. Moreover, the level of import by Azerbaijan exceeds that of Armenia by 20 times. In case of Armenia, the most outstanding purchase was obtaining the Iskander systems with 280km range. These missiles can hit almost any point in the territory of Azerbaijan. Further, it is mentioned in the report that Azerbaijan has imported a wider series of weapons, including tanks, armored vehicles, anti-ballistic missile systems and combat aircraft. The report also says that Russia is an important supplier of weapons to both sides.
Russia and Azerbaijan
According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, during 2012-2016, Russia delivered weapons to 50 states and to rebel forces in Ukraine. Russia’s share in world arms exports makes up 23%.
In other words, basing our judgements on the data of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, we can conclude that given that Moscow ensured 23% of world weapons export in 2011-2016, and Baku’s share was 4%, roughly speaking, Russia supplied Azerbaijan with around 1% of the total amount of weapons sold worldwide. Such large imports of weapons and ammunition are really an impressive indicator for a small country like Azerbaijan.
Moreover, given that Armenia has purchased 20 times less weapons than Azerbaijan and even if we suppose that all Armenia’s weapons are imported from Russia (which is not true), Armenia’s share in exports of Russian weapons and ammunition will make up 0.2%, which is simply a negligible number compared to the 4% share of Azerbaijan.
The report published by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute delivers yet another blow to the myth of Armenian-Russian “strategic partnership”. It is noteworthy that on the day of the publication of the aforementioned report (February 20), “Ria Novosti” agency published a detailed interview with Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Armenian-Russian diplomatic relations.
In the interview, Eduard Nalbandyan had said, “Of course, we cannot approve of the fact that Azerbaijan is purchasing weapons from our ally who puts much effort (both in cooperation with Armenia and as a Co-Chair of Minsk Group) in maintaining peace and stability in the region”.
However, Armenia rarely makes such statements… even after the 2016 April War.
Moreover, immediately after the aforementioned statement, the RA Foreign Minister starts to praise Russia’s efforts in maintaining peace in the region.
Thus, a rightful question arises… Do these efforts anyhow neutralize the damage from the sale of Russian weapons to Azerbaijan?
“Union of Informed Citizens”