Russia lends $200M to Armenia to fund new weapons purchases

YEREVAN, Armenia – Russia has agreed to provide a $200 million loan to Armenia to fund the purchase of Russian weapons.

The loan agreement released by the Russian government Friday said the 10-year export credit will cover the purchase of Smerch multiple rocket launchers, Igla shoulder-fired air defence missiles, TOS-1 thermobaric rocket launchers, anti-tank missiles and other weapons.

Armenia is part of several Russia-dominated security and economic alliances that include many ex-Soviet nations, and it hosts a Russian military base.

The supplies of new weapons are certain to anger Azerbaijan, which has been locked in a conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Sergei Minasian, an expert with the Caucasus Institute, said the new weapons shipments from Russia will help maintain a military parity with Azerbaijan amid increasing tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh.