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21 November 2015

Putin Signs Joint Defense System With Armenia to 'Keep Russia Safe From ISIL, NATO'

By signing an agreement with Armenia to create a joint missile air defense system in the South Caucasus, Russia has made a wise geopolitical move, US global intelligence company Stratfor reported.


Ten days ago, the Russian government worked out a joint missile air defense system with Armenia in the region. Afterwards, the government in Yerevan confirmed the upcoming visit of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Armenia in later November to officially sign the new defense deal between the two countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a brilliant move, as by signing the agreement with Armenia Russia essentially killed two birds with one stone.


First of all, Russia would boost its southern borders, as Moscow becomes more militarily involved in Syria. The possibility of ISIL jihadists slipping into Russia's southern Islamic republics is still a concern for Moscow.
"Moscow is keen to increase its ability to monitor its southern borders — a goal that a military presence in Armenia, with its proximity to the Middle East, is ideally suited to achieve," Stratfor reported.
Secondly, as NATO's increased activity in Eastern Europe and Turkey frustrates Moscow, Russia's joint defense system with Armenia is intended to counter the Western alliance's military buildup near Russian borders, the US intelligence company explained.

The Russo-Armenian military cooperation in the Southern Caucasus would certainly upset Turkey's ambitions in the region.


Furthermore, as Georgia is moving closer to the West — the country recently opened a NATO training center and regularly holds joint military exercises with the US Army — Russia made a good move by signing the joint defense agreement with Armenia, thus enhancing Moscow's military presence in the region, Stratfor said.

"It would also be located in a geopolitically complex region where many other regional players have significant strategic interests," Stratfor commented about the Russo-Armenian cooperation in the Southern Caucasus.

In late September, despite not being a NATO member, Georgia became a member of the NATO Response Force (NRF).

The NRF is a technologically-advanced high-readiness unit comprising land, air, and maritime forces within the alliance. The initiative was launched in 2002, and members created an operational group in 2014, as a response to changing security needs. Finland, Sweden and Ukraine also participate in the NRF program.