The defense situation today of the three states in the South Caucasus - Report

 Nov 13, 2023. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas


Italian delegation pays official visit

On November 9, Suren Papikyan, the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Armenia, received the delegation led by Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone, the Chief of the General Staff of the Republic of

 Italy, who was in Armenia on a working visit, the Press Office of the Armenian Defense Ministry reported. Issues related to the Armenian-Italian defense cooperation and regional security were discussed. The Minister of Defense emphasized the prospects for the development of relations in various aspects of bilateral interest, on which arrangements were reached during the meeting.

On the same day, Lieutenant General Edward Asryan, the Chief of the Armenian Armed Forces General Staff and the First Deputy Minister of Defense, met with Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone. Issues related to bilateral cooperation were discussed, and the directions for cooperation between the Italian and Armenian Armed Forces in 2024 were also outlined.

Armenia Responds to Reports of French Military Equipment Acquisition: Emphasizes Right to Self-Defense

An Armenian news agency sought a response from Aram Torosyan, Armenia’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) spokesperson, regarding circulating reports and images on Telegram channels about France allegedly sending military equipment to Armenia. The reports suggest that a substantial quantity of “Bastion” armored vehicles and their equipment were by France to Armenia.

“Apart from the official messages and statements regarding cooperation between Armenia and France in the defense sector, we cannot disclose any additional information at this time,” the Armenian MoD spokesperson said. Acquiring weaponry is a fundamental right for Armenia, and Yerevan will buy it from any country, if possible, for self-defense. This statement was made in response to another harsh criticism from Baku by Edmon Marukyan, Armenia’s ambassador with special assignments.

“Of course, these weapons do not have an aggressive purpose; they are intended for defense, which is the fundamental right of Armenia. This right has been, is being, and will continue to be exercised. Therefore, Azerbaijan’s statements on this matter are simply astonishing,” explained Marukyan. 

Armenia and France entered into a defense cooperation agreement on October 23 this year. However, information about the provision of French armored vehicles to Armenia had already surfaced in public sources around May and June.

Baku persists in expressing dissatisfaction with the military collaboration between Armenia and France. Recently, the spokesperson for Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister, Aykhan Hajizade, voiced strong condemnation of France’s provision of military equipment to Armenia.


Azerbaijan Approves Defense Cooperation Agreement with Georgia

On November 11Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, approved the "Agreement on Defense Cooperation between the Government of Azerbaijan and the Government of Georgia".

The purpose of the agreement is to promote and strengthen defense cooperation between the parties, as well as to provide a practical framework for the implementation of military cooperation programs adopted by the parties. It is noted in the document that the parties agreed on military education, training and exercises, defense and security policy, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, cooperation within the framework of NATO's "Partnership for Peace" program, arms control and disarmament, military legislation, material and technical support, will cooperate in civil-military cooperation, defense cyber security, military mapping, military medical services, social, sports and cultural events, humanitarian demining. The document also envisages cooperation between the parties in formats such as official visits and working meetings, bilateral negotiations, consultations and exchange of experience, exchange of information of common interest, and participation in conferences and seminars.

Notably, the Georgian parliament ratified the document on June 13. The agreement was signed in Baku in April this year by the defense ministers of Georgia and Azerbaijan.


Minister of Defense of the Republic of Slovenia pays official visit

On November 6, Marjan Ĺ arec, the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Slovenia, visited Georgia on an official visit, the Press Office of the Georgian Defense Ministry reported. He was hosted by Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze. Colleagues held a bilateral meeting to discuss prospects for defense cooperation between the two countries and the international security environment and challenges. Burchuladze thanked the Slovenian side for his firm support of Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty and for supporting integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. He informed his Slovenian colleague about reforms in the Georgian Defense Agency, which helped to increase compatibility with NATO. The Minister emphasized Slovenia's active involvement in the implementation of the NATO-Georgia Essential Package (SNGP) and cooperation in the field of military education and military training. At a meeting held at the Ministry of Defense, the ministers signed a joint declaration of cooperation between the ministries of defense of Georgia and Slovenia, which aims to bring defense agencies closer and deepen partnership. 

Local exercises

On November 6, in the framework of "Didgori 2023" inter-departmental command and staff training, the Eastern Battalion of the Special Operations Forces and the subdivision of the Rapid Response Division of the Department of Strategic Pipelines Protection of the Ministry of Internal Affairs conducted a joint training. In the crisis created according to the simulation scenario, the Defense Forces and the Ministry of Internal Affairs units acted in a coordinated manner and effectively performed the set task. The Georgian-made "Didgori" and "Didgori Medevac" participated in the joint exercises, which carried out the evacuation of the wounded. The newly modernized UH-1H Iroquois-type helicopter of the Defense Forces was involved in the air evacuation of the injured representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. 

On November 11, the field trainings at the tactical level envisaged improving the interaction between the units and deepening the coordination. For this purpose, in the territory of the "Norio" training area, according to the simulation scenario, the delay-blocking operation of the opponent, the air evacuation of the wounded, and the finding of quick medical aid were played. The 12th Battalion of the 1st Infantry Brigade was involved in the operation, supported by a platoon of National Guard Reservists and the Army Logistics Support Command, which supplied the battalion with logistical supplies as requested. The anti-aircraft missile complex "ATLAS" of 2 units of the Aviation and Air Defense Command also played supporting elements in the exercise. 

On November 12, the inter-departmental command and staff exercise "Didgori 2023" was actively being conducted with the involvement of various field components. To coordinate cooperation and effective actions in crises, a simulation exercise was played according to the flood scenario in Sachkhere. The company of the 102nd Territorial Defense Battalion of the National Guard and the units of the Emergency Situations Management Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, together with the representatives of the public organizations "I Serve Georgia" and "General Mazniashvili Legion," conducted rescue operations in a coordinated manner. One of the goals of the field components of "Didgori 2023" was to respond to a natural disaster in coordination with the Emergency Management Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, to control the organization of volunteers, to improve the procedures for receiving, equipping, and training reservists and interdepartmental communication.

Visit of NATO Military Committee

On November 9, the members of the NATO Military Committee visiting Georgia got acquainted with the progress of the inter-agency command staff training "Didgori 2023" at the Joint NATO-Georgia Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC). In the new building of the center of simulations, communication, and information systems, the guests received information about the work of the general headquarters of education and inter-departmental operational and simulation centers from the representatives of the Ministry of Defense and various state agencies participating in "Didgori 2023". During his visit to "Krtsanis," Admiral Rob Bauer, the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, met with the leaders of the defense forces at JTEC. At the meeting with Major General Giorgi Matiashvili, the Commander of the Defense Forces, Brigadier General Irakli Chichinadze, his deputy, and the representatives of the Defense Forces, they discussed the prospects of cooperation with NATO and member states. 

Moreover, the NATO Military Committee held a plenary meeting of the Military Committee in cooperation with Georgia. Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze addressed the meeting with a welcoming speech. Admiral Rob Bauer and Major General Giorgi Matiashvili were present at the meeting. During the session, representatives of the NATO military committee received a detailed briefing on the security environment in the region and the challenges facing the country. The main directions of cooperation with the Alliance were discussed during the joint meeting. Attention was paid to the implementation of the NATO-Georgia essential package with the Alliance. The Georgian side provided the members of the NATO Military Committee with updated information on the transformation of Georgia's defense and the progress achieved. 

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