Armenia Will Leave Russian-Led CSTO Defense Pact

World | June 12, 2024, Wednesday // 17:39
Bulgaria: Armenia Will Leave Russian-Led CSTO Defense Pact

Armenia has declared its intention to withdraw from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a defense alliance formed in 1992 among former Soviet republics with Russia at its core. The CSTO currently comprises Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Armenia.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan affirmed Armenia's decision to leave the CSTO, stating, "We will leave when we decide," during a parliamentary session where he faced scrutiny over the country's continued membership in the organization. Pashinyan criticized his predecessors for involving Armenia in what he described as a "hollow union," accusing CSTO members of collaborating with Azerbaijan in planning a war against Armenia.

The announcement of Armenia's withdrawal from the CSTO comes just a day after the country and the United States revealed the initiation of a strategic partnership.

Pashinyan criticized the CSTO for failing to fulfill its obligations and accused its members of colluding with Azerbaijan against Armenia.

Armenia's decision to leave the CSTO follows perceived failures by the alliance to intervene during Azerbaijan's attack on Armenia in 2022 and the alleged inadequacy of Russian peacekeeping efforts in Nagorno-Karabakh during the conflict with Azerbaijan last year.

In response, Armenia had previously announced the suspension of its membership in the alliance, recalled its representatives, and refused to contribute financially to the CSTO's budget. Despite this, Russia has insisted that Armenia is obligated to fulfill its financial obligations to the organization.

Instead of relying solely on Russia, Pashinyan's government has sought closer ties with the West, conducting joint military exercises with US forces, appealing for assistance to strengthen Armenia's democratic institutions, and expressing potential interest in joining the European Union. As a result, Russian border guards have been withdrawn from Armenia's borders with neighboring countries.

However, analysts like Vasif Huseynov from Azerbaijan's AIR Center think tank suggest that Armenia's economic reliance on Russia makes a complete departure from Moscow's influence unrealistic at this stage. Russia maintains significant control over Armenia's trade, energy, and infrastructure sectors.

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Tags: Armenia, Russia, CSTO, azerbaijan

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