By Aza Babayan and Astghik Bedevian
YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — Russia accused Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of seeking to ruin Russian-Armenian relations and reorient his country towards the West on Monday as it rejected his claims that Moscow has failed to protect Nagorno-Karabakh’s population against ethnic cleansing and guarantee Armenia’s security.
“We are convinced that the Yerevan leadership is making a huge mistake by deliberately trying to destroy the multifaceted and centuries-old ties between Armenia and Russia and making the country a hostage to geopolitical games of the West,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on September 25.
In a weekend address to the nation, Pashinyan held the Russians responsible for the exodus of Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian population resulting from last week’s Azerbaijani military offensive. He also declared that the military alliance with Russia and membership in the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) are not enough to ensure Armenia’s national security. Moscow is now also intent on ending the South Caucasus country’s independence, he charged.
The Russian Foreign Ministry hit back at the Armenian premier in equally strong terms. It dismissed his “unacceptable attacks” as an attempt to “relieve himself of responsibility for failures in domestic and foreign policy by shifting the blame to Moscow.”
“Russia has always been faithful to its allied obligations, respected Armenian statehood and never confronted the republic with a choice. with us or against us,” he said in a statement.