An address by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who further accused Russia of faltering in its responsibilities toward Armenia, has angered Moscow, which on Monday said the Armenian leader, with his “unacceptable attacks,” was seeking to ruin Russian-Armenian relations and is looking to the West for support.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Russian foreign ministry rejected Pashinyan’s claims, who in a televised address, accused “outside forces” of attempting to sow dissent in Armenia.
“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.
Pashinyan also seemed to blame Russia for Armenians’ exodus from Artsakh following last week’s large scale offensive by Azerbaijan, which left hundreds dead and injured and displaced thousands of Artsakh residents.
Pashinyan also stepped up his attacks, saying that membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization and an alliance with Russia were not enough to ensure Armenia’s national security, adding that Armenia will normalize relations with Azerbaijan through frameworks put forth by the European Union.
The Russian Foreign Ministry hit back at Pashinyan, saying the prime minister was attempting “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,” it said in a statement. The statement blamed the Azerbaijani offensive on Pashinian’s controversial decision to recognize Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh during October 2022 and May 2023 talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev organized by the European Union. “This fundamentally changed … the position of the Russian peacekeeping contingent [in Karabakh,]” the Russian foreign ministry said.
These sentiments were echoed by Russia’s Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, who visited Yerevan and met with Pashinyan, telling him that the West wanted to use the situation in Ukraine to squeeze Russia out of the South Caucasus region.
“The West wants to use the situation around Ukraine to squeeze Russia out of the South Caucasus, to destroy the Russian-Armenian bond. The United States and the EU obsessively offer their prescriptions for reforming key areas, including intelligence and law enforcement agencies, defense, and the judicial system. This state of affairs is undermining our alliance. Americans always pursue only their own interests, they don’t care about Armenia and Armenians,” Kolokoltsev said, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.
The Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also took note of the remarks, categorically rejecting Pashinyan’s criticism of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Artsakh.
“The Russian peacekeepers have demonstrated real heroism in performing their duties according to their mandate,” Peskov said, adding that Moscow still regards Yerevan as an ally and will continue its “dialogue” with Pashinyan.