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Armenia between CSTO and NATO2012-09-21 19:25
These days, in Armenia, there were simultaneously conducted military exercises of radically different military-political blocs - the CSTO and NATO, with participation of armed units of country's Defense Ministry. Experts believe that both of these events illustrate Yerevan's policy of balance between the two force centers. This is particularly evident in the last few years, when the western line of the Armenian state has become more apparent and substantial.
Yerevan has started to participate in the programs of the EU, NATO and the Council of Europe more and more actively. In addition, the country is actively involved into the CIS integration platforms, which is proved by the ratification of the treaty to establish a Free Trade Area within the CIS. And this time the Armenian government has managed to simultaneously host major military exercises of NATO (September 17-20) and the CSTO Collective Rapid Reaction Force ("Interaction-2012", September 15-19) in its territory.
Of course, the KSOR exercises were substantially larger in scale and the number of participants than the similar NATO event. NATO exercises, which took place on the script of peacekeeping operation, involved 600 military; and the KSOR exercises involved 2,000 soldiers. They were attended by the units from Russia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The exercise simulated the use of forces and means of collective security in the Caucasus region, the task of anti-air defense were simulated for the first time.
It should be recalled that this is the first exercises of this scale since the signing of the 5th Protocol between the presidents of Russia and Armenia, Dmitry Medvedev and Serzh Sargsyan in October 2010. The contract is related to the extension of the term of dislocation of the Russian military base in Gyumri till 2044.
It should be emphasized that the CSTO exercises in Armenia are very important in the sense that they were synchronized with similar exercises "Caucasus-2012", held in the North Caucasus. They were guided from a single military command center in Rostov. The fact that there was single command center shows their significant contribution to the security of the country. This was stressed by the Armenian political scientist Alexander Iskandaryan commenting on the importance of the exercises "Interaction-2012". "These exercises were extremely important. They were serious enough in terms of scale and format of participation and contributed significantly to the umbrella-type security system of the state."
"The KSOR exercises were unique in its scale. But the question of what will be the real actions of the organization or its members in case of real aggression against Armenia remains unanswered", the hero of the Karabakh war, Major General Arkady Ter-Tadevosyan said at a press conference in Yerevan on September 20. According to him, on the other hand, the exercises have shown that the CSTO had started to live, having become effective in practice. "Yet, in case of aggression against Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are unlikely to help Yerevan, especially with human resources, due to the close relations with Azerbaijan", he said, adding that only two allied countries - Belarus and Russia - can actually help.