Azerbaijan, Armenia conduct large-scale military drills
Azerbaijan and Armenia conduct large-scale military exercises four months after two former Soviet republics brokered a peace deal stopping a war over a breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Thousands of troops and hundreds of artillery and armoured vehicles will be involved from both sides, defence ministries of two countries said.
In Azerbaijan a total of 10,000 troops, 100 tanks, up to 200 missiles as well as 30 planes and drones are being used in the war games, which will be conducted in a mountainous area and will run through March 18.
In Armenia military exercises will involve 7,500 soldiers, about 100 tanks and armored vehicles, some 300 artillery and antiaircraft systems as well as aircraft.
Armenian drills are designed “to check the combat readiness of troops and their ability to rapidly act in the existing situation”, while Azeri exercises are aimed at fight against terrorist groups and illegal military units.
Armenian analysts say that Yerevan wants to demonstrate its force and military potential after the defeat in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Analysts in Baku suggest that Azerbaijan intends to send a signal to Armenia that it’s ready to prevent infiltration of any terrorist groups from the neighbouring country.
Azerbaijan accused Armenia in sending an illegal military unit to its territory in November after the Russia-brokered peace deal was signed. Armenia denied the claim.