Armenia’s PM Expresses Discontent with Russia over Nagorno-Karabakh

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Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has voiced his dissatisfaction with Russia’s role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, accusing Moscow of failing to protect its ally amid a standoff with Azerbaijan.

Pashinyan said on Tuesday that there were “problems” in his country’s relations with Russia, but no crisis, Russian news agencies reported.

He said he had complained to President Vladimir Putin about “problems” with Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh, warning of an escalation in the restive Caucasus region.

Armenia and Russia are formal allies through a mutual self-defense treaty, but Yerevan has been disgruntled by Russia’s unwillingness to provide stronger support in its long-running conflict with Azerbaijan.

In 2020, Russia deployed peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh – an Armenian-populated region of Azerbaijan that the two sides have contested for decades – to end weeks of fighting which saw thousands killed and Azerbaijan make significant territorial gains.

However, tensions have remained high since then, especially after Azerbaijani protesters claiming to be environmental activists blocked the Lachin corridor – the only road route between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh – since December, triggering food and medicine shortages in the region.

Pashinyan said that Azerbaijan’s rhetoric was becoming more aggressive every day and accused Baku of preparing for the ethnic cleansing of Armenians.

He also criticized Russia and the Moscow-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for failing to ensure free transit via the Lachin corridor.

Reflecting his frustration with Moscow, Pashinyan canceled a planned military exercise by CSTO members set for this year and refrained from naming his representative to the bloc’s leadership.

He also refused to sign a joint document at a meeting of CSTO leaders last week and distanced himself from Putin in a group photo.

Pashinyan urged Putin to take more active steps to resolve the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and prevent further bloodshed.

Putin has tried to maintain a delicate balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan, both former Soviet republics that have close ties with Moscow.

He has called for dialogue and respect for the ceasefire agreement signed in 2020. He has also engaged in diplomatic efforts with other regional players such as Turkey and Iran.

Russia’s foreign ministry said it was planning a meeting with the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers in Moscow as Russia tries to maintain its role as the traditional regional power broker.

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