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Monday, June 5, 2023
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Armenian PM critical of Russia-dominated security pact


Nikol Pashinyan notes “objective problems” in relations with the Kremlin, but says they have not developed into a crisis.

Armenia’s prime minister has accused a Moscow-dominated security alliance of leaving his country out in the cold over the threat of renewed hostilities with neighboring Azerbaijan.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has repeatedly been critical of what he described as the failure of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, or CSTO, to protect member Armenia amid a standoff with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Russia, which has sought to maintain strong ties with its ally Armenia while maintaining friendly relations with energy-rich Azerbaijan, has engaged in a delicate diplomatic balancing act, avoiding any violent action. The Kremlin’s influence in the region has become more limited as Russia has focused its resources on the war in Ukraine.

Pashinyan said at a press conference that it was not Armenia withdrawing from the CSTO, but on the contrary, “the CSTO is withdrawing from Armenia whether it wants to or not”.

“We are concerned about that,” Pashinyan said.

He stressed that “the threat of escalation along the border of Armenia and in Nagorno-Karabakh is now very high”, citing “increasingly aggressive rhetoric from Azerbaijan”.

Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan escalated in December when Azerbaijani protesters claiming to be environmentalists blocked the so-called Lachin Corridor, the main road between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, leaving its population of 120,000 short of food and other basic necessities. Last month, the United Nations Supreme Court ordered Azerbaijan to allow free movement along the road to resume, but the situation has remained tense.

Nagorno-Karabakh is located in Azerbaijan, but since the end of the separatist war in 1994, it has been under the control of Armenian-backed ethnic-Armenian forces.

In 2020, Azerbaijani forces routed Armenian forces in six weeks of fighting that ended with a Russian-brokered peace deal that allowed Azerbaijan to take a significant portion of Nagorno-Karabakh and recapture nearby areas that had been in Armenian hands for nearly two decades.

During the latest standoff, Pashinyan and other Armenian officials strongly criticized Russia and the Moscow-dominated CSTO for failing to guarantee free passage through the Lachin Corridor.

As a result of his exasperation with Moscow, Armenia canceled a planned military exercise of CSTO members for this year and refrained from appointing its representative to the bloc’s leadership.

Pashinyan said he expressed Armenian concerns about the situation during a phone call Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing a recent protest by residents of Nagorno-Karabakh in front of the Russian peacekeepers’ headquarters.

The Armenian leader noted “objective problems” in relations with the Kremlin, but said he does not think they have developed into a crisis.

In another sign of his irritation with Moscow, Pashinyan said Armenia would welcome other countries, such as the United States and Germany, to help broker peace talks with Azerbaijan.

He also noted that “the existing security architecture was not working”, adding that Yerevan was making efforts to “establish military-technical cooperation with many other countries”.


Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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