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Russia MP: Armenia's Possible Exit from CSTO ‘Is a Tragedy’ and Will Only Affect Armenia

Russia MP: Armenia's Possible Exit from CSTO ‘Is a Tragedy’ and Will Only Affect Armenia

The potential decision of Armenia to leave the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will not impact the organization's defense capabilities, said Andrey Kartapolov, Chairman of the Committee on Defense of the Russian State Duma. Speaking to RIA Novosti, Kartapolov emphasized that such a move would primarily affect Armenia's defense capabilities.

"This will only affect Armenia's defense capability and nothing else; so, of course, this decision is on the Armenian side. But the fact is that, unfortunately, the decision will be made by Armenia’s current leadership, which is not guided by the interests of the Armenian people; this is a tragedy," Kartapolov stated. He expressed hope that common sense would prevail among the Armenian people, rather than the current leadership.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had announced that the next logical step after a freeze in CSTO membership could be Armenia's complete departure from the organization. He mentioned that theoretically, the situation around the CSTO could change if Belarus decided to leave or if the Belarusian president offered an apology acceptable to the Armenian people.

This week Pashinyan announced that Armenia might leave the CSTO in the near future. During the debates on the 2023 state budget performance in the National Assembly.

He explained that the government's action plan explicitly mentioned Armenia's intention to remain engaged with the CSTO and to work towards improving collective security mechanisms. However, he highlighted that the plan also indicated questions regarding the CSTO's effectiveness.

"We wrote that we have questions related to CSTO and we should go after getting the answers to those questions," Pashinyan said, referring to the 2021 action plan.

The Prime Minister pointed out that Armenia's doubts about the CSTO's effectiveness began in May 2021 when Azerbaijani troops invaded the Sotk-Khoznavar sector. Despite assurances from the CSTO that Armenia's borders were a red line, the organization did not respond adequately to the invasion. This lack of action prompted the Armenian government to question the CSTO's efficiency.

Pashinyan further expressed his disappointment with the CSTO's failure to fulfill its duties in protecting Armenia's territorial integrity. He noted that during the CSTO summit in Yerevan in November 2022, Armenia refused to sign documents that did not meet its interests, in line with the government's program.

The opposition has argued that the government should resign because its actions contradict the action plan. They cited issues related to the CSTO and the status of Nagorno-Karabakh as key examples. However, Pashinyan rejected these claims, stating that the government was following the program by questioning the CSTO's effectiveness and refusing to sign unfavorable documents.

"Should we have meekly signed those papers which did not correspond to the government's program and the interests of our country, which questioned our sovereignty and territorial integrity? And since we didn't do that, we need to resign?" Pashinyan asked rhetorically.

Pashinyan announced that the next logical step for Armenia might be to leave the CSTO. He clarified that the government program did not commit to remaining a CSTO member but rather to seeking answers to their questions about the organization. The timing of such a decision remains uncertain, potentially happening in a month or a year.

In response to Pashinyan's statement, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov emphasized that Russia would seek to understand Armenia's position regarding the CSTO. He expressed hope that the partnership and alliance relations with Armenia would continue.

"We hope that we will maintain partnership and alliance relations in any case," Peskov said, acknowledging Armenia's interest in maintaining these relations.


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