21:02 GMT16 January 2021
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    Russian and Armenian defense ministers on Wednesday signed a treaty to create a joint regional air defense system in the Caucasus.

    The move comes following the latest incident in Syria where a Russian Su-24 jet was shot down by the Turkish air force, former deputy commander of the Air Defense Forces, General-Lieutenant Alexander Luzan said.

    Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu with his Armenian counterpart Seyran Ohanyan signed an agreement on the establishment of a joint regional air defense system in the Caucasus region for collective security.

    “In my opinion, this decision is connected with the events in Turkey. Today, aviation plays a major role in combat. Turkey is a NATO member and there are US aircrafts present in Turkish airfields also. There is a need for a more secure system that would keep the air borders protected and this requires joint efforts,” Luzan said.

    The Russian Defense Ministry's Southern Military District delivered six modern attack Mi-24P and transport Mi-8MT helicopters to its Erebuni base in Armenia on Monday.

    Two weeks earlier, seven Mi-24s and Mi-8MT were deployed to the base 7.5 miles southwest of the Armenian capital of Yerevan.

    The Russian and Armenian ministers additionally signed a 2016 defense cooperation agreement.

    Russia is currently working on the creation of a similar system with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. A contract on creating a joint regional air defense system was signed between Russia and Kazakhstan in 2013, and Russia and Belarus’s systems have already been unified.

    Aerospace Forces Commander-in-Chief, Lt. Gen. Pavel Kurachenko, has estimated the regional air defense system incorporates 19 aviation units, 47 antiaircraft missile units, 19 radio-technical units and three separate electronic warfare battalions.


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