Armenia's acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan attends a meeting with Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin before a session of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Council in Kazan, Russia April 29, 2021. Reuters
Russia's military set up two new military sites in the south of Armenia near the Azeri border as an 'additional security guarantee' following last year's conflict, Russian news agencies reported, citing Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Russia is a close ally of Armenia, an impoverished former Soviet republic of less than 3 million people, and has a military base in the northwest of the country.
Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces fought a six-week war over Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas last year until the conflict was halted by a Russia-brokered deal in November, locking in territorial gains for Azerbaijan and establishing presence of Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone.
'Two strongholds of the 102nd Russian military base were established in the Syunik region,' the Interfax news agency cited Pashinyan as saying in an address to the Armenian parliament.
The region is wedged between Azerbaijan, the Azeri exclave of Nakhchivan and Iran.
'This is an additional security guarantee not only for the Syunik region but for Armenia,' the prime minister was quoted as saying.
The Armenian defence minister said in February that Yerevan had sought an expansion of the Russian military unit, based in Gyumri in the northwest, and the deployment of some Russian troops closer to Azerbaijan.