The issue was on the agenda of U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo’s meeting on Tuesday with Armenia’s visiting Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigorian.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, Adeyemo “discussed recent economic developments in Armenia” and “highlighted the United States’ global efforts to prevent evasion of U.S. sanctions and export controls imposed on Russia.”
An Armenian government statement on the meeting made no mention of the sanctions. It said the two sides discussed a “wide range of issues” relating to bilateral U.S.-Armenian relations.
Khachatrian was accompanied by Deputy Finance Minister Eduard Hakobian and Armen Nurbekian, a deputy governor of the Armenian Central Bank
U.S. Assistant Commerce Secretary Thea Kendler visited Armenia on Monday. The U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, Kristina Kvien, tweeted that she joined Kendler in meeting with senior Armenian officials “to discuss Armenia’s continued commitment to upholding U.S. sanctions.”
Kvien said nothing about the results of the meetings with the chief of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s staff, Arayik Harutiunian, Finance Minister Tigran Khachatrian and the secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, Armen Grigorian. There was no word on the sanctions, imposed after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, in official Armenian readouts of the talks.
Two other senior U.S. officials travelled to Yerevan last week for a session of the U.S.-Armenia Strategic Dialogue.
Last month, the U.S. departments of Justice, Treasury and Commerce issued a joint “compliance note” warning companies about the risk of violating the U.S. sanctions on Moscow. The notice said that third-party intermediaries have commonly used China, Armenia, Turkey and Uzbekistan as “transshipment points” to Russia as well as Belarus.
Armenia’s trade with Russia has skyrocketed since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and the resulting Western sanctions.
Armenian exports to Russia nearly tripled, to $2.4 billion, last year. Goods manufactured in third countries and re-exported from Armenia to Russia are believed to have accounted for most of that gain.
Official Armenian statistics also shows that individual cash remittances from Russia to Armenia quadrupled to almost $3.6 billion. The soaring trade with and cash flows from Russia are the main reason why the Armenian economy grew by 12.6 percent in 2022.