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Russian official: Pashinyan 'trying to turn Armenia into Ukraine No. 3'

by Nate Ostiller October 18, 2023 7:15 PM 3 min read
L-R: Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan pose for a group photo during the welcoming ceremony of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on Nov. 23, 2022 in Yerevan, Armenia. (Contributor/Getty Images)
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A speech by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in the European Parliament on Oct. 17 is a sign he is leading Armenia down a dangerous path, an unnamed Russian official told Russian-state media news agency Tass on Oct. 18.

“We regard the speech of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in the European Parliament on Oct. 17 as absolutely irresponsible and provocative, especially with regard to Russia and Russian-Armenian relations,” he said.

“We see how they are trying to turn Armenia into Ukraine No. 3, if we count Moldova as Ukraine No. 2, and Pashinyan is taking leaps and bounds along the path of Volodymyr Zelensky," the official said, a reference to the countries' Western leaning policies and EU aspirations.

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War Notes

Pashinyan spoke on Oct. 17 in front of the European Parliament, saying that Armenia was ready to sign a peace treaty with long-time foe Azerbaijan.

Although he also denounced Azerbaijan's recapture of Nagorno-Karabakh, as a "fulfillment of its long-standing policy of ethnic cleansing," Pashinyan said that he had the "political will" to move towards a lasting peace between the two countries.

He also criticized the inaction of Armenia's supposed allies, which appears to be the section of his speech the Russian official referred to as "irresponsible and provocative."

Armenia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), along with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. It was designed to operate in a similar manner as NATO, with its own "Article 5" stipulating that an attack on one is an attack on all.

CSTO troops were sent to Kazakhstan during protests and violent rioting in January 2022, but did not assist Armenia when Azerbaijani troops swiftly recaptured Nagorno-Karabakh on Sept. 20. The contingent of Russian "peacekeepers" stationed in the disputed area also did nothing to stop the attack.

Pashinyan mentioned the CSTO by name in his speech, saying the organization did nothing to help Armenia when Azerbaijan violated the country's sovereignty during skirmishes in 2021.

During the 2023 recapture of Nagorno-Karabakh, not only did Armenia's allies decline to fulfill their security obligations, they attempted to "subvert Armenia's democracy and sovereignty," Pashinyan said.

He did not mention any of these allies by name.

Nonetheless, the unnamed Russian official, who was described by Tass as "high-ranking," appears to have thought the comments referred to Russia.

Traditionally, Russia and Armenia have been close allies.

Pashinyan's Oct. 17 speech was the latest in recent moves that Russia has considered as being "unfriendly." Armenia's Parliament on Oct. 3 voted to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which was then signed into action on Oct. 13 by Vahagn Khachaturyan, President of Armenia.

Armenia is now obligated to arrest Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, who has an open arrest warrant from the ICC for his role in the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children, if he sets foot in Armenia.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Russia considered it an "extremely hostile" move.

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