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Azerbaijan is buying 24 Mi-35M helicopter gunships from Russia. The Mi-35 is the export version of the most recent upgrade of the Mi-24. This is a twelve ton helicopter gunship that also has a cargo area that can hold up to eight people, or four stretchers. The Mi-35M can carry up to 2.4 tons of rockets, missiles bombs, as well as an automatic cannon. It is used by over thirty countries, and has a pretty good reputation for reliability. The Mi-24 design is based on the earlier Mi-8 transport helicopter. The "M" model is equipped with Western sensors and avionics and can operate at night and in all weather. The Mi-35M has a top speed of 310 kilometers an hour and cruises at 260 kilometers an hour. Typical sorties are about three hours long.
This purchase is the result of the oil rich Turkic nation of Azerbaijan increasing its defense budget 87 percent, to $3.1 billion. Nearly half the budget will be spent to modernize the armed forces.
Back in 2009, Armenia signed a treaty that, in effect, makes it a protectorate of Russia. The deal extends the lease on a Russian military base in Armenia from 2020 to 2044. The 3,000 man Russian force in Armenia may be increased and Russia, in effect, guarantees Armenia's security.
The only active enemy Armenia has at the moment is Azerbaijan. Both countries continue to disagree over possession of Nagorno-Karabakh, a 4,400 square kilometer district, full of Armenians, surrounded by Azerbaijani territory. Technically, there has been a truce between Armenia and Azerbaijan since 1994. But it has been a hot truce. Between 1991 and 1994 there was a war between the two countries over Nagorno-Karabakh, which Armenia won. Some 20,000 people died, and over a million (400,000 Armenians and 700,000 Azerbaijanis) fled their homes as Armenia occupied 31,000 square kilometers of Azerbaijani territory, to connect Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. Most of the refugees were from areas dominated by one group, who drove out the minority. Some 40,000 Azerbaijani civilians were driven from Nagorno-Karabakh. The situation was humiliating for Azerbaijan, who saw it as yet another example of more powerful and wealthier (via oil fields) Moslems being defeated by a smaller number of armed and more capable non-Moslems.
Azerbaijan on Wednesday threatened to shoot down civilian planes flying to disputed Nagorny Karabakh if the separatist Armenian authorities who control the region reopen an airport there
Azerbaijan’s statements on shooting down of aircrafts flying to Nagorno-Karabakh are quite unacceptable, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch told a press conference on March 21.
The separatist Karabakh authorities have been rebuilding the airport near their capital Stepanakert and plan to restart commercial flights to Yerevan in May.
An official at the separatist Karabakh presidential office said that “criminal” threats would not stop the planned flights, which are set to begin amid increasing tensions and exchanges of gunfire across the ceasefire line which has divided the two sides since the end of the war.
“We are determined to open the airport, no matter whom it vexes in Azerbaijan,” the official, David Babaian, told the PanArmenian news agency.
Protesters were holding placards reading "We want freedom," "Ilham, go away," and chanting for President Ilham Aliyev's "resignation" from office
The police, armed with batons, arrested protesters as they tried to reach Fountain Square, including women, and forced them into buses.
RFE/RL correspondents saw police officers spraying tear gas through the bus windows into the detained activists' faces.
23 hours ago
Up to 10,000 anti-government protesters rallied in the capital of ex-Soviet Armenia on Friday and occupied a central square after riot police withdrew to prevent clashes.
Calling for the government's resignation and early elections, they held a short rally and then marched through the city to Freedom Square, which had been cordoned off by riot officers with batons and shields.
But the police pulled back, allowing the demonstrators to continue their protest in the square, which was the scene of mass rallies after disputed presidential polls in 2008 that ended in clashes leaving 10 people dead.
Armenia's parliament on Tuesday ratified a deal to allow Russian troops to remain in the country for more than 30 years, boosting Moscow's military influence in the strategic South Caucasus region.
The deal sees Russian forces extending their lease on a military base in Armenia until 2044 and upgrading the mission of the estimated 3,000 troops stationed there.
"In addition, according to the amendments, the Russian side will assist Armenia in the provision of armaments and modern military equipment," Nazarian told lawmakers.
The deal has caused unease in Azerbaijan, which is locked in a long-running conflict with Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorny Karabakh, and in neighbouring Georgia, which fought a brief war with Russia in 2008.
International mediators in the Armenian-Azeri conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh warned on Thursday against the planned opening of an airport in the breakaway region.
The opening of Stepanakert airport is not within the OSCE Minsk Group`s terms of reference. Whether they like it or not, the airport will be put into operation, Galust Sahakyan, Chairman of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) parliamentary group, told a press briefing in Parliament as he commented on the OSCE Minsk Group`s concern over the planned opening of the airport.
The commander-in-chief of Russia’s ground forces ended on Wednesday his second visit to Armenia in three weeks which the Armenian military said focused on a redeployment of Russian troops stationed in the country.
The Russian base has up to 5,000 troops, more than a hundred tanks and armored personnel carries, S-300 air defense missiles as well as a squadron of MiG-29 fighter jets. Just last week, Armenia’s parliament ratified a Russian-Armenian agreement extending Russia’s basing rights by 24 years, until 2044.
Georgia already effectively closed its airspace to Russian transport planes delivering military equipment and personnel to the Gyumri base following the 2008 war in South Ossetia. Russian and Armenian military sources told RFE/RL’s Armenian service at the time the Russian military is now forced to re-route those supplies via Iran and even Azerbaijan.
Georgia’s parliament Tuesday unanimously approved a government proposal to dissolve a military transit agreement with Russia, which allowed the latter to deliver cargo to its base in Gyumri through land and via Georgia’s airspace, reported the Civil Georgia news agency.
Surely, Azerbaijan needs to and will want to capitalize on the economic and touristic opportunity afforded by hosting Eurovision 2012. It's a matter of national pride and they will want to do the best they can to host the contest at the highest level with guaranteed security.
It is hoped that at least for one year there won't be any bellicose statement about resolving the Nagorno Karabakh conflict through military means.
Azerbaijan violated ceasefire regime around 450 times in the contact line between the armed forces of Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh from May 8 to 14.
According to information of the NKR Defense Army, Azerbaijanis fired 1700 times in the direction of the Armenian positions.
Armenian side incurred losses as a result of intensive firing on May 11-12.
Arayik Balasanyan, 33, resident of Kyuratagh village, Hadrut region of Nagorno-Karabakh, received a gunshot wound in the head, while operating a tractor. He died on the way to Hadrut hospital.
The launch of first commercial flights to and from Nagorno-Karabakh in two decades appears to have been postponed indefinitely despite the virtual completion of reconstruction work on the disputed territory’s sole airport.
The authorities in Stepanakert now refuse to announce any dates for the official reopening of the newly rebuilt facility located 8 kilometers east of the Karabakh capital.
Azerbaijan condemned these plans as illegal and threatened to shoot down aircraft entering Karabakh without its permission. The governments of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) and Armenia dismissed these threats, saying that the airport will be inaugurated as planned.
The Armenian Armed Forces opened fire from positions outside the Berkaber village in the Armenian Ijevan region at the Azerbaijani troops outside the Gizilhajili village in the Gazakh region at 19.40-19.45 on June 22, Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.
Originally posted by Hellmutt
reply to post by Vitchilo
From what I've seen from Armenian sources over the last year or so, Azerbaijan has broken the ceasefire several times a week.
The Russian Federation Council, the upper chamber of the parliament, ratified a protocol on Wednesday extending Russia's use of a military base in Armenia.
In 2010, Russia and Armenia signed amendments to a 1995 bilateral treaty extending Russia's use of the 102nd Military Base in Gyumri near Armenia's border with Turkey through 2044.
The protocol stipulates that the term will be automatically extended every five years unless one of the parties notifies the other about the annulment of the treaty six months in advance.
The base is under the command of Russia's North Caucasus Military District and is part of the CIS integrated air defense system.
There are around 5,000 personnel at the base, as well as S-300 surface-to-air missile systems and MiG-29 fighters.
Hopes for a breakthrough on a conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia were deflated Friday when Russia, which convened talks in the city of Kazan, released a statement saying that the leaders of the two countries had not agreed to the framework for a deal.
A diplomat involved in the talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media, said that Friday’s talks were “not a make-or-break meeting” and that work on an agreement would continue. The diplomat said, however, that the two sides had made less progress than mediators had hoped.
Azerbaijan, in particular, has channeled its oil wealth into a military buildup; it plans to flaunt its power in a parade in the capital, Baku, on Sunday.
(AFP) – 11 hours ago
Azerbaijan paraded thousands of soldiers and hundreds of military vehicles through its capital on Sunday, in a show of force two days after talks failed to resolve a bitter territorial dispute with Armenia.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who has overseen massive increases in defence spending, warned in his speech that he was ready to take back the disputed Nagorny Karabakh region, which was seized from Azerbaijan in the 1990s by Armenian separatist forces backed by Yerevan.
"The war is not over yet," Aliyev said at the showpiece parade in the centre of Baku, vowing to end what he called the "occupation" of Karabakh.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is frustrated with the failure of his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts to reach a framework agreement on Nagorno-Karabakh and could refrain from organizing more talks between them, one of his senior aides has reportedly said.
"If Azerbaijan and Armenia fail to display soon a readiness to solve the accumulated problems, then we will consider this mediation mission to be over," a leading Moscow daily, "Kommersant," quoted a "high-ranking Kremlin source" as saying.