West trying to destroy Russian-led bloc – Foreign Ministry
Western nations have been waging a massive information and political campaign to weaken the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) – a security alliance of Russia and several former Soviet states, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Wednesday.
The US and its allies are deliberately hampering any attempts by the CSTO to build up relations with other international and regional structures, Zakharova said. “We see how difficult cooperation between CSTO and other international structures and organizations has been,” she told journalists, adding that “it is a result not of some natural causes but of artificially created issues.”
Washington is offering various benefits to CSTO members in exchange for severing ties to Russia, the spokeswoman said. The Western offers include military and technical cooperation and “alternative security umbrellas,” she claimed, warning that these offers often disguise the West’s desire to gain access to CSTO members’ national databases which contain sensitive information for the Russian-led alliance.
The US and its allies sometimes resort to outright threats, Zakharova added. The West is also waging a massive disinformation campaign by spreading fake news about the organization on the internet designed to tarnish the image of the CSTO, the spokeswoman warned.
“There is a vast number of baseless slandering news pieces published both in the [Russian-language] media and the media outlets located in the CSTO [member states],” Zakharova stated, without providing specific examples.
Moscow does not limit its allies’ right to develop relations with any third parties, the spokeswoman said, adding that Russia “believes it is our duty to warn our partners about the risks for our security zone.”
Formed in 1992, the CSTO currently includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. In May, Yerevan warned that it could leave the alliance if it becomes “ineffective.” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at the time that his nation might do so if it officially determines that the CSTO has abandoned Armenia, and that further membership becomes a security liability.
Since a visit by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in September 2022, Pashinyan has begun to blame the alliance for not deterring Azerbaijan – another ex-Soviet republic – from moving against the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in 2022, as well as engaging in border skirmishes with its Caucasus neighbor.
Pashinyan’s statements in May sparked concerns in Moscow. The CSTO “has demonstrated its effectiveness in various situations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at the time, adding that Russia would continue dialogue with Armenia.
Baku and Yerevan have since held a series of talks, including in Moscow, and have repeatedly stated that they are moving towards signing an official peace treaty. Armenia has not raised the issue of leaving the CSTO since May.