By Benyamin Poghosyan
Special to the Armenian Mirror-Spectator
The launch of Russia’s “special military operation” on the territory of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, marked the start of the most severe geopolitical crisis in international relations since World War II. Relations between Russia and the West began to deteriorate in 2014, but now they are worse than even during the Cold War.
While experts are trying to assess the consequences of the crisis and possible ways to overcome it, the post-Soviet republics are faced with the problem of making rather difficult decisions. The situation is especially problematic for those states that, having close relations with one of the camps, want to maintain contact with the other side.
Armenia also faces this challenge. Being a strategic ally of Russia, a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Eurasian Economic Union, Armenia, at the same time, is trying to maintain partner relations with the Euro-Atlantic community. Armenia is a member of the European Union (EU) Eastern Partnership program, and in 2017 it signed a Comprehensive and Enhanced Cooperation Agreement with the EU. The Armenia-US strategic dialogue was launched in 2019, and there is also moderate cooperation with NATO through the Individual Partnership Action Plans.
The complete collapse of West-Russia relations and the start of a proxy war between the two sides on the territory of Ukraine creates significant challenges for Armenia. The situation is complicated by the consequences of Armenia’s defeat in the Artsakh war in 2020, Azerbaijan’s openly aggressive intentions towards Armenia and Artsakh, and the complicated processes of a possible settlement of Armenia-Azerbaijan and Armenia-Turkey relations.