Russia accused a longtime ally of ‘distorting history’ in an effort to break off relations with Moscow

Russia accused a longtime ally of ‘distorting history’ in an effort to break off relations with Moscow
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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan  walk through a gilded gold doorway, both wearing suits
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow in May 2023.

  • Russia accused Armenia of “distorting history” to try and “break off” relations with Moscow. 
  • Armenia was a longtime ally of Russia but has recently become critical.
  • It said it has suspended participation in the Russia-led CSTO and has sought closer Western ties.

Russia’s foreign minister accused Armenia, a former ally, of “distorting history” in an effort to “break off” relations with Moscow.

Armenia recently stepped up its criticism of Russia. Last month, it said it had “frozen our participation” in the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

The Collective Security Treaty Organization is considered Russia’s equivalent to NATO, and Russian President Vladimir Putin hoped it could rival the Western military alliance.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, told Russian newspaper Izvestia that the situation “does not inspire optimism,” according to a translation by Ukraine’s Kyiv Independent.

“Frankly, the Armenian leadership, under far-fetched pretexts, distorting the history of the last three or three and a half years, is deliberately leading things to the break off of relations with the Russian Federation,” he said.

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Lavrov said Armenia failed to mention the support it has been getting from the CSTO and said Russia had repeatedly protected Armenia’s interests in difficult situations.

Armenia, once part of the Soviet Union, has deep historical and financial ties to Russia. But tensions between the countries have recently deepened, with Armenia challenging Russia and the CSTO and appearing to seek closer ties with the West.

Tensions became apparent in 2022 when Armenia called on the CSTO for help during border clashes with neighboring Azerbaijan.

Russia didn’t send troops, angering Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

He called the response “depressing” and “hugely damaging to the CSTO’s image both in our country and abroad,” and then physically distanced himself from Putin in a group photo at an international summit later that year.

Pashinyan said in June 2023 that Armenia was “not Russia’s ally in the war with Ukraine” and said the country felt trapped between Russia and the West.

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And then last month he said Armenia had suspended its participation in the CSTO.

“The Collective Security Treaty has not fulfilled its objectives as far as Armenia is concerned, particularly in 2021 and 2022. And we could not let that happen without taking notice,” he said.

“We have now, in practical terms, frozen our participation in this treaty. As for what comes next, we shall have to see.”

Armenia has also been strengthening ties with the West.

Pashinyan canceled military drills with Russia in January 2023 and in September announced a joint military exercise with the US. Armenia also ordered air defense systems and radars from France.

Armenia’s foreign minister said last month that the country is considering seeking EU membership.

NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg also visited Armenia this month, to discuss stability in the region as the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan continues. He also reiterated his belief that Russia needs to be stopped in Ukraine.

Lavrov in his comments this week accused Stoltenberg’s trip of being part of a Western effort to disrupt the region.

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“The goal of those who are trying to tempt the Armenian leadership to side with the West is simple – to disrupt stability in the South Caucasus and to turn it into a zone of Western domination,” he said.

“The West is doing the same in Central Asia and many other regions of our shared continent.”

While tensions between Aremnia and Russia are clearly strained, experts on Russia and former Soviet Union countries say that relations between Russia and other CSTO members are also under pressure.

Russia’s military failures in Ukraine and its response to Armenia have left some CSTO members worried that Russia would not be able to protect them, and could even attack them, experts previously told Business Insider.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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