Russia has announced that it is ready to walk away from negotiations over the country’s future lease of an early-warning radar in Azerbaijan.
The radar based at Gabala in northern central Azerbaijan has been the subject of a long-running series of negotiations between Azeri and Russian officials regarding the latter country’s operation of the radar.
Russia currently rents the radar from Azerbaijan for around $7 million (€6 million) per year. ChainHomeHigh reported in March thatBaku wanted to increase the annual rent on the radar to $300 million (€238 million) per year.
Azerbaijan’s position has been no doubt motivated by the fact that the radar plays an indispensable role in Russian long range radar coverage, in particular providing early warning of any ballistic missile launch from Iran. The radar itself is said to provide over 6,000km (3,239nm) of surveillance coverage.
Russia’s latest riposte to Baku’s planned price increase has been to suggest that Moscow could abandon the radar in Azerbaijan, and instead construct a new system in Armenia, following an offer from the latter country to that effect.
One Russian defence ministry official reportedly said that the price being offered byBaku for the lease would be sufficient for Russia to build two new early warning radars elsewhere.