Armenia’s relationship with Russia should grow even closer, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian reiterated on Friday at a meeting with a visiting Russian delegation headed by Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky.
The delegation arrived in Yerevan to attend a regular Russian-Armenian interregional conference. It brought together government officials and businesspeople from various regions of the two countries. They discussed ways of forging closer bilateral links.
“We are interested in strong and dynamically developing relations with Russia,” Pashinian told Medinsky and other Russian officials accompanying him. “Our goal is to have our bilateral ties deepen further and our relations become closer than ever before.”
Pashinian was also cited by his press office as praising Armenia’s growing trade with Russia. He said he hopes that it will grow even faster.
The premier similarly expressed confidence that Russian-Armenian relations will become “more special” when he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on June 13. For his part, Putin again stressed “the strategic character” of bilateral ties and the fact that Russia is Armenia’s leading trading partner.
In that regard, Putin noted rising Armenian agricultural exports to Russia. He attributed that to Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), a Russian-led trade bloc comprising five ex-Soviet republics.
Pashinian criticized Armenia’s accession to the EEU membership and even called for its withdrawal from the bloc as recently as last November. However, he made clear that he will not pull his country out of the EEU or the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) after he swept to power in May.
Russia accounted for about 27 percent of its foreign trade last year. Armenian exports to Russia soared by almost 45 percent to more than $541 million.