Armenian PM Pashinyan to skip CSTO summit, dealing blow to Moscow's regional sway
Nikol Pashinyan (Photo - EPA)

Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan will not participate in the summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which is headed by Russia, reported the press service of the Armenian government.

Pashinyan announced in a telephone conversation with the dictator of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, that he will not come to the CSTO summit, which is to be held in Minsk on November 23.

In the official statement about the conversation published by the Armenian government, it is stated that Pashinyan "expressed the hope that colleagues from the CSTO will accept such a decision with understanding."

Currently, Pashinyan is the chairman of the CSTO Collective Security Council.

Kremlin press secretary Dmytro Peskov said that Armenia did not warn Moscow about Pashinyan's decision to skip the meeting, and "if this is really the case, then one can express regret."

Relations between Armenia and Russia, which have been close allies for decades, have deteriorated significantly since the Russian Federation effectively refused to help Armenia in its standoff with Azerbaijan over the unrecognized enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia narrowed its cooperation with the CSTO and took a number of steps that were considered "hostile" by the Kremlin. Pashinyan publicly admitted that counting on Russia to protect Armenia's security was a "strategic mistake."

REFERENCE. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is a military-political international organization that includes Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. The authorities of the Russian Federation are trying to present the CSTO as a "real alternative" to NATO and are trying with all their might to increase the weight of the CSTO in the system of international relations.

In September 2022, Pashinyan accused the CSTO allies of not helping the country with weapons in its military conflict with Azerbaijan, despite the supplies already paid for by Yerevan.

Earlier, Pashinyan criticized the CSTO for inaction during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan.

On October 3, 2023, the Parliament of Armenia ratified the Rome Statute, committing to implement the decisions of the International Criminal Court (ICC). As Pashinyan stated, Yerevan dared to take this step because the tools of the CSTO and partnership with the Russian Federation "are not enough to ensure the security of the country."