Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visits Armenian army positions on the border with Azerbaijan, December 31, 2022.

YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has again criticized Russia and other ex-Soviet allies of Armenia for not defending it against what Yerevan regards as Azerbaijani military aggression.

“The aggression against the sovereign territory of Armenia from May 2021 to September 13, 2022 was doubly painful because our security allies abandoned us, preferring to remain in passive observer status or offering active observer status as an alternative,” Pashinyan said in his New Year’s address to the nation.

“But we were not alone in the world and I want to thank those countries and international organizations that were not indifferent to this situation and, having no obligation to our country, took unprecedented decisions to support the establishment of security and stability in our region, he said in an apparent reference to Western powers.

Armenia appealed to Russia and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for support during the September clashes along its border with Azerbaijan which left at least 224 Armenian soldiers dead. Armenian leaders later accused the Russian-led alliance of ignoring the appeal in breach of its statutes.

The CSTO proposed what its outgoing Secretary General Stanislav Zas called a set of “measures to assist Armenia in this difficult situation” during a summit held in Yerevan in November. However, Pashinyan vetoed a corresponding decision by the leaders of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, citing the absence of any language condemning Azerbaijan.

Zas said in December that the proposed measures included “military-technical assistance.” He declined to specify the types of weapons which other CSTO member states were prepared to send to Armenia.

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Pashinyan renewed his criticism of the CSTO amid growing friction between Moscow and Yerevan caused by Azerbaijan’s ongoing blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh’s sole land link with Armenia.

Pashinyan charged last week that Russian peacekeepers have become a “silent witness” to Baku’s efforts to “depopulate” Karabakh through the blockade. He said Moscow should come up with a plan to unblock the corridor or seek a larger and multinational peacekeeping mission in Karabakh.

Russian officials rejected the criticism. They also denounced some Armenian officials’ claims that Moscow is using the three-week blockade to try to force Armenia to join the “union state” of Russia and Belarus and open an “exterritorial corridor” to Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave.


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