Armenia has again sided with Russia at the United Nations General Assembly, underscoring its new government’s intention not to change the country’s traditional foreign policy orientation.
Armenia was among 15 nations -- including Russia, Belarus, Iran and North Korea -- that voted against a General Assembly resolution calling for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the breakaway Transdniester region of Moldova.
The nonbinding resolution was adopted late on June 22 by a vote of 64 to 15, with 83 abstentions in the 193-nation assembly. It was co-sponsored by Britain, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine and seven other mostly eastern European countries.
Transdniester is considered one of the many "frozen conflicts" in the former Soviet Union. The mainly Russian-speaking region declared independence from Moldova in 1990 over fears that Chisinau would seek reunification with neighboring Romania. Moldovan forces and Moscow-backed Transdniester fighters fought a short but bloody war in 1992.
The conflict ended with a cease-fire agreement after Russian troops in the region intervened on the side of the separatists. Some 1,400 Russian troops remain in Transdniester guarding Soviet-era arms depots, and Moscow has resisted numerous calls over the years to withdraw its troops.
Armenia’s decision to vote against the resolution on Transdniester was consistent with its voting record at the UN and other international organizations. Yerevan has usually opposed measures critical of Russia, the South Caucasus state’s leading ally. Those include a 2014 General Assembly resolution that that condemned Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and upheld Ukraine’s sovereignty over the Black Sea peninsula.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has repeatedly pledged to keep his country allied to Russia since he swept to power in a democratic revolution last month. “Nobody … will cast doubt on the strategic importance of Russian-Armenian relations,” he told Russian President Vladimir Putin at their first meeting held in Sochi on May 14.
For his part, Putin expressed hope that Yerevan and Moscow will continue to cooperate in the international arena. He singled out the UN, noting that “Armenia and Russia have always supported each other” there.