In an interview with a news service 1in.am broadcast late Tuesday, Pashinyan responded to former President Serzh Sarkisian’s claim that the Armenian military was not using its Iskander missiles adequately against advancing Azerbaijani forces due to wrong government orders.
Sarkisian made the claim earlier this month when he harshly criticized Pashinyan’s handling of a six-week war that was halted by a Russian-brokered ceasefire on November 10.
“Let him ask why the Iskander that was fired did not explode or why it exploded, say, 10 percent,” Pashinyan replied to Sarkisian without elaborating.
Pashinyan went on to state that Russia’s advanced missile system may be out of date. Asked if the Iskander missile was not working, he said: “I don’t know. Maybe it was a 1980s weapon.”
The remarks sparked a storm of criticism in Russia, which supplied several Iskander missile systems to Armenia in 2015. Senior members of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, attacked Pashinyan in very strong terms.
“The Iskander is a very precise weapon, which has been proven repeatedly during military exercises,” said Viktor Zavarzin, deputy chair of the State Duma’s defense and security committee.