As of: 01/10/2023 6:19 PM
Recently, it was reported from Moscow that maneuvers of the CSTO military alliance will take place in Armenia in 2023. The Armenian government has now scrapped that plan. The background is probably the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia has canceled planned joint military exercises of the CSTO, the Russian-led defense alliance, in its region. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told a press conference that the exercises were “not appropriate in the current situation”. At least not this year.
A week and a half ago, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced that the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) would hold its “Immortal Brotherhood – 2023” maneuvers in Armenia this year. Other former Soviet states such as Belarus and Kazakhstan are also in the alliance.
Criticism due to its location in the Nagorno-Karabakh region
Pashinyan was initially open about his exact intentions. However, the move is seen as another sign of rising tensions between the Armenian government and Moscow. Armenia, which relies heavily on Russia as a security force, has repeatedly accused Moscow of inaction in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict region.
In the fall, Pashinyan refused to sign the final document at a meeting of CSTO members in the Armenian capital, Yerevan.
The Russian troops stationed in the region have been particularly unsatisfied with the lack of action to clear the Lachin Corridor, which has been blocked by forces from neighboring Azerbaijan. The road is the only link between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, home to about 120,000 Armenians.
The Armenian government recently warned of a decline in medical services in the region. According to media reports, food is also becoming scarce.
Moscow demands an explanation
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow would ask the Armenian government to explain its position on the canceled exercises. Armenia is a close ally and dialogue will continue.
Russia is not only Armenia’s security force, but also wants to maintain close ties with oil-rich Azerbaijan — not least because of its war of aggression against Ukraine and associated Western sanctions.
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