Karabakh Enhances Defense Capabilities
BY LUSINE MUSAYELIAN
STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)—The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s armed forces on Friday announced the acquisition of large quantities of heavy weapons and ammunition in the last two years.
“The position we are in, in terms of obtaining concrete weapons and military hardware, is unprecedented,” Nagorno-Karabakh’s top commander, General Movses Hakobian, told a news conference in Stepanakert.
Hakobian said the arms acquisitions have been so extensive that the Karabakh Armenian military has difficulty storing them and plans to build a new arms depot for that purpose. He declined to specify the types of new weaponry delivered to it.
Hakobian already reported a major military buildup in late 2011. He spoke of new tanks, anti-tank rockets and artillery systems at the time. Some defense analysts in Yerevan believe that Karabakh’s Defense Army was supplied with around 100 tanks through Armenia in 2011-2012.
Azerbaijan reportedly began receiving last month a similar number of tanks as well as many other Russian-made offensive weapons worth an estimated $1 billion in accordance to defense contracts signed with Russia.
Hakobian expressed concern about the Russian arms sales to Baku that have been widely criticized in Armenia and Karabakh. He insisted at the same time that the Azerbaijani army is still not strong enough to start and win a new war with the Armenians.
The Karabakh army chief also said that his forces have built new defense fortifications and placed more anti-personnel land mines this year along the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” east and north of the disputed territory. He said this is aimed at preventing sabotage attacks by Azerbaijani troops.