Armenia and Russia signed the Agreement on establishment of a Joint Regional Air Defense System of Collective Security in Caucasus in 2015, but it stirred interest only after June 3, when the Government submited the document for the Armenian National Assembly’s approval. This issue of the Key section is dedicated to the questions that rose about the Agreement.
1. Does Armenian Air Force remain independent?
The system, which is to enhance the regional air defense, is joint and not unified. This means that Air Defense units of Armenian Army will remain independent.
For instance, Khazakhstan and Belarus had established unified regional air defense systems with Russia. As by this moment, only the Republic of Armenia signed an agreement on establishment of a joint system, which ensures that Armenian Air Force will not come under command of Air Force of any other state.
By the considered agreement, the Armenian side doesn’t fully provide its air defense system to the joint one. The Armenian side decides which part of its air defense system will be provided or withdrawn from the joint system. Air Defense units of Armenian Armed Forces remain independent in this regard as well.
The Agreement indicates that the Armenian forces of the Joint regional air defense system of collective security in Caucasus will be under the direct command of their national general staff.
2. What possibilities does the Agreement give Armenia?
The Agreement allows to use the capabilities of Russian Aerospace Forces up to utilization of nuclear weapon. Russian Aerospace Forces have satellite and survelliance systems that can be used in favour of Armenian Air Force on the territory of Armenia.
3. What leverage does the Republic of Armenia have in the Joint system?
The 3rd clause of the Agreement indicates that since Armenia and Russia have no land borders, the Joint regional air defense system within the borders of Armenia is a separate system within the overall Joint regional air defense system of collective security. This system’s activity is managed by the commander of Armenian Air Force. Armenian Air Defense units are managed by Supreme Commander of the Armenian Armed Forces in these issues.
4. What is Russia’s leverage in the Joint system?
Joint actions of the Joint regional air defense system of collective security in Caucasus and military units of other regional air defense systems is regulated by Commander-in-Chief of Russian Aerospace Forces. This concerns only joint activity of the Joint air defense system and other air defense systems. Armenian Air Force can independently cooperate with any air defense systems, it has freedom of choice.
In case the Russian side is in danger of an offensive or the Armenian side is unable to neutralize the threat on its own, the general command is realized by Commander of Southern Military District of Russia.
5. Does the Agreement work on the territory of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic?
The Agreement defines “Separate region of joint security” as the territory and aerial domain of Armenia, a part of the region. For this reason the Agreement has no force in NKR, therefore, it doesn’t affect the cooperation between MoDs of Armenia and NKR.
6. What will be the System’s occupation in the time of peace?
Joint regional air defense system of collective security in Caucasus is to take action only in case of a direct threat of an offensive and during war.
In the time of peace Joint regional air defense system of collective security in Caucasus will carry out organization and implementation of air defense duty, keeping weapons and military equipment at permanent readiness, etc.
7. What is the duration of this Agreement?
The duration of the Agreement is 5 years. Upon expiration, the Agreement is automatically prolonged, unless one of the parties submits a written warning of its intentions to withdraw from the treaty, no later than 6 months prior to the completion of the duration period.