The Occupation in Figures
Nagorno-Karabakh: 1988-1992, territory 4400 km2; Shusha: may 08, 1992, territory 289 km2; Lachin: may 18, 1992, territory 1840 km2; Kalbajar: april 2, 1993, territory 3054 km2; Aghdam: july 23, 1993, territory 1150 km2; Fizuli: august 23, 1993, territory 1390 km2; Jabrayil: august 23, 1993, territory 1050 km2; Gubadli: august 31, 1993, territory 802 km2; Zangilan: october 29, 1993, territory 707 km2.

Armenia’s access to Russian-made Iskander poses threat to region

Armenia’s access to Russian-made Iskander poses threat to region


Russia’s handing over the Iskander missile complexes to Armenia can bring additional threats to the region, Pavel Felgenhauer, a Moscow-based defense analyst and columnist for the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, told APA’s Moscow correspondent. 

According to him, this weaponry may add to the capabilities of the Armenian army.

He noted that the Armenian army has so far had the R-17 missile complex at its disposal.

“The target accuracy of this missile complex, however, is less than that of Iskander. What has been given to Armenia is presumably the Iskander-E missile complex, which varies considerably from Iskander-M,” the columnist said.  

Iskander-E is the exported modification, whose target accuracy is 200km less than that of Iskander-M, said Felgenhauer, noting that the latter strikes a target as far as over 500km.

He stressed that Russia cannot sell or give Iskander-M to Armenia, because such a step would mean Russia’s violation of its international obligations.

According to him, the sale of a missile complex with a strike range of more than 300km to either of conflicting countries means a violation of the international obligations.

“If Russia has really given Armenia the Iskander-M missile complex, it has violated its international obligations,” said Felgenhauer.

The defense analyst also commented on the fact that the Russian Defense Ministry has neither confirmed nor rejected reports of Iskander’s sale to Armenia.

“Moscow’s non-confirmation in fact puts the Armenians in an undesired situation. This increases the suspicion that the Iskander missile, displayed at the recent military parade in Armenia, is included at the disposal of Russia’s Armed Forces,” he said. “Russia could sell the Iskander-E missile complex to Armenia. Azerbaijan may also be offered to buy these missile complexes.”   

Belarus, a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, also has Iskander complexes, he said, noting that Belarus cannot use these complexes without the authorization of Russia.

“Armenia is likely to face a similar condition. Most likely, in case of waging a war, Armenia should get permission of Russia to use these complexes,” said the columnist. “I think Armenia will be able to use these complexes during short-term military operations.”

In fact, Armenia, by displaying the Iskander missile complexes in the parade, tried to intimidate Azerbaijan, said Felgenhauer.

According to him, the main goal of Russia is to ensure balance between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

He noted that the April clashes – short-term war in Nagorno-Karabakh – showed the military potential of the Azerbaijani army.

“It became clear that there is a high morale in the Azerbaijani army, which is equipped with modern weapons and equipment. Armenia is now trying to eliminate the consequences of the April crashes,” the defense analyst added.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.

A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includesNagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, KalbajarAghdam,FuzuliJabrayilGubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.

The military operations finally came to an end when Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in Bishkek in 1994.

Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCEMinsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in Dec.1994) Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.

Besides, the OSCE Minsk Group has a co-chairmanship institution, comprised of Russian, the US and French co-chairs, which began operating in 1996.  

Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACEOSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.