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Armenia Again Asks Russian-Led Military Bloc For Help


Armenia - Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian meets with top security officials of CSTO member states, Yerevan, June 17, 2022.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian on Friday renewed his calls for the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to help Armenia deal with what he called serious security threats emanating from Azerbaijan.

Citing continuing “aggressive statements” by Baku, Pashinian said the military alliance of Russia, Armenia and four ex-Soviet states should specifically consider dispatching a monitoring mission to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

The Armenian government appealed to the CSTO for help shortly after Azerbaijani troops reportedly crossed two sections of the border and advanced several into Armenian territory in May 2021. It asked the alliance to invoke Article 2 of its founding treaty which requires a collective response to grave security threats facing a CSTO member states.

Russia and other member states expressed concern over the border tensions but did not issue joint statements in support of Armenia. Some of their representatives argued that the heavily militarized frontier has not been demarcated.

Armenia - Yerevan-based foreign military attaches visit an area in Armenia's Syunik province where Armenian and Azerbaijani troops are locked in a border standoff, May 20, 2021.
Armenia - Yerevan-based foreign military attaches visit an area in Armenia's Syunik province where Armenian and Azerbaijani troops are locked in a border standoff, May 20, 2021.

Pashinian described that argument as “dangerous” when he met with the secretaries of the security councils of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan who gathered for a regular session in Yerevan.

“As the holder of the [CSTO] presidency, I want to stress that this issue needs to be discussed in earnest,” he said. “Why? Because we can see that aggressive statements by Azerbaijan are continuing.”

Pashinian cited a 2010 document that regulates the deployment of CSTO monitoring missions to crisis spots. The missions are required to recommend concrete joint actions to the member states.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Thursday implicitly threatened to resort to military action if the Armenian side continues to oppose the opening of a land corridor connecting Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave.

Armenia - Nikolay Patrushev (C), secretary of Russia's Security Council, meets his Armenian counterpart Armen Grigorian, June 16, 2022.
Armenia - Nikolay Patrushev (C), secretary of Russia's Security Council, meets his Armenian counterpart Armen Grigorian, June 16, 2022.

The secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, Armen Grigorian, ruled out such an extraterritorial corridor when he spoke at the meeting of the top CSTO security officials on Friday. He said that Armenian-Azerbaijani agreements brokered by Russia call for only conventional transport links between the two South Caucasus states.

Grigorian held a separate meeting with his powerful Russian counterpart, Nikolay Patrushev, late on Thursday. His office said he briefed Patrushev on the current station in the Karabakh conflict zone and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in particular. It cited Patrushev as saying that “Moscow supports Armenia in the processes of ensuring regional security.”

Russia’s Security Council reported, for its part, that the two men discussed Russian-Armenian cooperation “in the interests of stability in the South Caucasus region.” It said they also spoke about Russian assistance to Armenia’s energy and cyber security.

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