Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Armenian counterpart, Seyran Ohanyan, signed an agreement on Dec. 23 to form a “Joint Air Defense System” in the Caucasus.
Alexander Luzan, the former deputy undersecretary of the Russian land forces, said he believed this agreement was met after Turkey downed a Russian Su-24 warplane along its border with Syria on Nov. 24 on grounds of airspace violation. However, he added, “I believe, this decision [the agreement] is linked with the issues experienced in Turkey.”
“Today, aviation plays the most important role in military. Turkey is a member of NATO and there are not only Turkish aircrafts inside Turkish territories; the United States also uses air bases [in Turkey]. There is a need for a more serious system that will strengthen [our] air space and for this aim, the unifying of forces is needed” Luzan said.
Although unifying the air defense systems of the two countries is made harder because of their geographical locations (Georgia lies in between Russia and Armenia), Luzan said it was a success to unify the air defense systems of the two countries.
“Besides, we have a military base in Armenia. We also need to protect that base from other countries' aircrafts” said Luzan.
Russia is working on joining its air space defenses with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Meanwhile, a unifying agreement with Kazakhstan was inked in 2013.