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25 Sep, 2023 21:24

Armenian leader ‘making huge mistake’ – Moscow

It is Yerevan’s “inconsistent” and “irresponsible” approach that has led to the escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said
Armenian leader ‘making huge mistake’ – Moscow

The political course outlined by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in his Independence Day address is deeply flawed, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after the speech was published. The prime minister’s remarks were merely an attempt to avoid responsibility for his government’s mistakes by blaming them on Russia and flirting with the West, the ministry added.

On Sunday, Pashinyan questioned the “goals and motives of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh” amid a recent escalation in the disputed region that saw Azerbaijan take control over it in a swift military operation.

Pashinyan also accused “the allies we relied on for many years” of “setting a goal of exposing our weakness and justifying the Armenian people’s inability to have an independent state,” without mentioning any specific nation. He also said that the escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the dangers faced by the ethnic Armenians there “have nothing to do” with his government.

“It has become clear to all of us that the instruments of the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization] and the Armenian-Russian strategic partnership are insufficient to ensure Armenia’s national security,” the prime minister added, referring to the Russia-led defense alliance.

The Russian ministry said on Monday that the “direct and indirect attacks on Russia” in Pashinyan’s statement indicate that “destructive … processes inspired by the West and encouraged by … Yerevan are not of a sporadic but of a systemic nature.”

The government in Yerevan deliberately seeks to turn Armenia away from Russia, it stated, warning that, while the two post-Soviet states have “largely common interests in the fields of security and development,” the West only seeks to “inflict strategic damage to Russia” and “destabilize the Eurasian region.”

Moscow has always been committed to its duties as an ally and has actively contributed to Armenia’s security, economic and cultural development, the ministry said. The efforts of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, helped Yerevan to avoid “total defeat” in the 2020 conflict with Azerbaijan, it stated, adding that Russian brokered a ceasefire deal that could have been used as a basis for resolving the situation around the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the future.

Instead of adhering to the Russian-brokered deal, Pashinyan turned to the West and recognized Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over the disputed region during talks in Prague and Brussels. These actions by Yerevan have seriously affected the agreement that Moscow helped reach, as well as the status of the Russian peacekeepers sent to Nagorno-Karabakh as part of that deal, the ministry explained.

Armenia “lost precious time that could have been used to advance the talks on the peace treaty between Yerevan and Baku as well as [carry out] the border delimitation and unblock regional communication channels” that would have together created additional security guarantees for Armenia itself, the ministry said.

“We are convinced that the government in Yerevan is making a huge mistake by deliberately seeking to destroy complex and centuries-long ties between Armenia and Russia, as well as making their nation a hostage of the geopolitical games of the West,” the ministry’s statement said.

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