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Armenia to hold military drills with US amid worsening relations with Russia

by The Kyiv Independent news desk July 6, 2024 4:26 PM 2 min read
The spring panorama view of Yerevan, Armenia from the Antarayin neighborhood near the Cascades on March 11, 2014. (Wikimapia Commons)
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Armenia will host joint military exercises with the U.S. on July 15-25, the Armenian Defense Ministry announced on July 6.

The announcement comes amid deteriorating relations between Armenia and Russia.

The drills – called Eagle Partner 2024 – will focus on peacekeeping operations.

"Servicemembers from the peacekeeping brigade of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia, the U.S. Army Europe and Africa, and the Kansas National Guard participate in the exercise," the ministry said in a statement.

"The purpose of the exercise is to enhance the interoperability of units participating in international peacekeeping missions, exchange best practices in control and tactical communication, and improve the readiness of the Armenian unit. Units preparing for international peacekeeping operations regularly engage in similar joint military exercises and training with partner countries."

Armenia has long been close with Russia, but is now seeking to distance itself, repeatedly accusing Moscow of being an unreliable partner.

Relations between the two countries have continued to sour after Russian peacekeepers declined to act during conflicts between Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-backed entity on internationally recognized Azeri territory, and Azerbaijan, from 2020 to 2023. During these conflicts, there have also been direct clashes between Armenian and Azeri troops.

Nagorno-Karabakh was re-integrated into Azerbaijan after Baku's final victory in 2023.

Following this, Yerevan repeatedly threatened to leave the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russian-led military alliance.

In March, Armenia's Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan revealed that the country is considering applying for membership in the European Union, aiming to strengthen ties with the West.

Armenia has largely refrained from getting involved in Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine. The country delivered its first batch of humanitarian aid to Ukraine in September 2023.

US wants to invite Armenia, Azerbaijan to upcoming NATO summit, sources tell Azerbaijani media
The news came as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James O’Brien is scheduled to arrive in Baku on June 27, in what will be his third trip to the South Caucasus in two months.

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