18 September 2012Joint military exercises of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) are under way at Armenia's Marshal Baghramian training ground.
The war games, which kicked off on September 15 and will run until September 19, involve about 2,000 troops from six CSTO countries: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.
The participating troops are practicing joint operations and the use of collective security system means in the Caucasus, with the support of aviation and artillery units, including multiple rocket launchers.
The CSTO chief of staff, Russia's Major Lieutenant Anatoly Yakovlev, said the maneuvers had nothing to do with tensions in the region bordering with Russia's volatile North Caucasus or with separatism-related issues in Azerbaijan and Georgia, two countries that withdrew from the CSTO in 1999.
Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian said on September 16 the aim of the exercises was to create a "regional force that can neutralize potential threats."