Closure of the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan will not affect the military security of Russia, Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov confirmed to reporters on Friday, RIA Novosti reported.
"If there had been even a small doubt that the closure of the Gabala radar station would weaken security of the Russian Federation, then of course we would have agreed with our friends from Baku to continue the lease. Today, I can firmly state that the closure of the radar station in Gabala will not affect the military security of the Russian Federation," Antonov said.
He added that Russia has in fact removed equipment from Azerbaijan and withdrew the military contingent. "We are working very closely with our Azerbaijani friends who express cooperation and we are not experiencing any excesses," he said.
He also stressed that no military serviceman goes from Azerbaijan 'into the open field'. "Every soldier will be provided with a concrete work and housing and the situation following the collapse of the Soviet Union will not be witnessed again," the deputy minister said.
The agreement on the status, principles and operating conditions of the Gabala radar station between the governments of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation expired on December 9, 2012,with the latter sending a note halting the station's operationon December 10 last year.
The Gabala radar station located in north-west Azerbaijan and was built during the Cold War Soviet period as one of the most important elements of the USSR's missile defence system. After Azerbaijan gained independence, the radar station became the country's property and Russia continued to use it.
Previously, the Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation reported that it was holding negotiations with Azerbaijan to extend the lease of the Gabala radar station until 2025.