Armenia's New Ballistic Missiles Will Shake Up the Neighborhood

Armenia's New Ballistic Missiles Will Shake Up the Neighborhood

Russia has decided to feed an arms race between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

To sum up, by supplying both Armenia and Azerbaijan with advanced equipment, Moscow has sparked an arms race between the two rivals, which in turn will inevitably lead to new rounds of violence. This approach apparently allows Russia to strengthen its grip on Armenia and Azerbaijan, making them increasingly dependent in terms of arms procurement. Regardless of Russia’s efforts to restore its credibility within Armenian society and the political and military elite by using the arms delivery in its propaganda, following the April fighting and Russia’s neutral stance, Armenia turned more pragmatic in its relations with Moscow.

As for Azerbaijan, struggling with economic predicaments, Baku will be more focused on fostering technical advantages. Azerbaijan will apparently avoid large-scale military actions in the medium term, in face of substantial cuts to its military budget. Concerned that such a reality may embolden Yerevan to act more decisively, Baku will likely embrace the opportunity to eliminate Armenia’s ballistic advantages at any convenient moment. Although Baku will likely impose a more defensive, or a parallel “preemptive deterrence,” strategy vis-à-vis its opponent, its posture is likely to be generally less belligerent but at several key points more provocative.

Eduard Abrahamyan, PhD, is a defense and regional security analyst and scientific researcher at the University of Leicester, UK. His expertise is on NATO’s strategy evolution and adaptation in the Eastern Europe and Black Sea regions.

Image: 9P78-1 TEL for Iskander-M system. Wikimedia Commons/Vitaly V. Kuzmin