Russia's Gabala Pullout No Security Risk - Defense Ministry
Moscow, December 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russia's decision to stop using the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan will not hurt its security, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
"This is not critical for our country. The facility in Armavir (Krasnodar Region) is on experimental combat duty, and is already fulfilling the tasks of covering those areas for which the Gabala radar station had been responsible," Deputy Defense Minister, Colonel General Oleg Ostapenko told RIA Novosti on Saturday.
He stressed that the rocket attack warning systems are fully functional. "And, going forward, we will simply further grow our capacity," he added.
On December 10, Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry went on record saying that Russia was abandoning the Gabala facility due to a disagreement over the rental terms.
The next day the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed that Russia was no longer using the radar station, and that the Russian Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan's capital, "has sent a relevant note to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry."
The lease, signed in 2002, was to expire on December 24, 2012. Talks between Moscow and Baku over extending the lease to 2025 had been underway for over a year.
The Gabala station could track missile launches and trajectories over the territories of Iran, Turkey, China, Pakistan, India, Iraq and Australia, as well as most of Africa and parts of Indian and Atlantic oceans.
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