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YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Russia's defense minister visited Armenia on Tuesday for talks about military cooperation between the ex-Soviet allies.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu hailed Armenia, which hosts a Russian military base, as Moscow's "key partner." He said after inspecting the base that it serves as "the guarantor of stability in the Caucasus region."
The Russian base in Armenia has about 4,000 troops and air defense assets. The base's commanding officer reported to Shoigu that its capability has markedly increased with the deployment of new modern weapons systems.
Russia and Armenia have held joint military maneuvers and coordinated air defense operations. Russia also has provided Armenia with modern weapons, such as the Su-30 fighter jets.
Shoigu also met Tuesday with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian to discuss military ties and the situation in Syria. Armenia has sent experts to Syria on a Russia-backed mission to help clear mines and provide medical assistance.