Armenia refused to hold Russia-led CSTO exercises on its territory

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan refused to hold exercises of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. The Prime Minister said this at a briefing on January 10. 

Pashinyan also said that there will be no CSTO drills in Armenia at least in 2023.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization is a military block led by Russia.

The Armenian Defense Minister informed the CSTO Joint Staff that we consider it inappropriate to hold CSTO exercises in the current situation in Armenia. At least this year, such exercises will not be held in Armenia, – Pashinyan said.

In the current situation, Armenia will not hold CSTO exercises in 2023, he emphasized. 

In October 2022, Armenia refused to participate in the CSTO exercises due to the conflict on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. 

Moreover, in November 2022, Pashinyan declined to sign the final declaration of the CSTO summit because Armenia saw a need for an assessment of Azerbaijan’s actions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Commenting on reports that Armenia has given Russia an ultimatum that if the Lachin corridor is not opened by January 10, Armenia will withdraw from the CSTO, Pashinyan replied. “I don’t think we should talk to our partners in the language of ultimatums. What we have to say about this situation has already been said, and here is nothing to add.”

Pashinyan refused to sign decisions of the CSTO summit.

Pashinyan refused to sign the significant decisions of the CSTO summit following the meeting of the organization’s leaders, which took place in Yerevan in November.

In mid-September in 2022, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan escalated. However, the CSTO member states insisted on resolving the situation through diplomatic means, which did not suit Armenia.

There were protests in Armenia demanding withdrawal from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a military block led by Moscow.

Blockade of the Lachin corridor leading to Nagorno-Karabakh

In recent weeks, tensions have escalated in Armenia due to the blockade of the Lachin corridor leading to unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijani activists. Activists of one of the political associations hold a demonstration near the Russian military base in Gyumri, blaming the Russian “peacekeeping contingent” for non-respect of their duty in light of the blockade of the corridor.

Russian “peacekeepers” in Nagorno-Karabakh failed to fulfill their obligations – Pashinyan

At the end of 2022, at a meeting with Vladimir Putin, Nikol Pashinyan complained that the Russian “peacekeepers” in Nagorno-Karabakh failed to fulfill their obligations. The Russian soldiers have not controlled the Lachin corridor, which is critical for supplies, for 20 days.

This corridor is the only way that connects Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia. On December 12, 2022, it was blocked by a group of Azerbaijanis who called themselves eco-activists. Azerbaijan denies the blockade, claiming that humanitarian goods are allowed through.

Russia is not considered a reliable partner for its allies

As these events show, Russia is so busy and exhausted by its war of aggression against Ukraine that it is no longer a reliable partner for its allies. Unable to cope with its obligations, Moscow is now not considered a trustworthy player in the Caucasus and Central Asia regions.

Although the international community recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as being a part of Azerbaijan, its 120,000 residents, almost all Armenians, broke away from Baku in the first war in the early 1990s.

The latest Armenia-Azerbaijan war in 2020 resulted in a ceasefire mediated by Russia. Azerbaijan regained control of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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