Russia Will ‘Reconsider’ Ties with Armenia if Yerevan Aligns with West, Says Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that Russia will seriously “reconsider” its relations with Armenia if Yerevan continues aligning with the West.

Speaking to reporters in the Turkish city of Antalya on Sunday, Lavrov scoffed the Armenian leadership’s criticism of Moscow, especially Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s statement that ending Armenia membership in the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization could not be ruled out.

In addition to Pashinyan, his close ally Parliament speaker Alan Simonyan has stepped up his criticism of Moscow, saying that Russian border guards should leave Armenia and advocating for Armenia’s membership in the European Union.

Lavrov told reporters that alliances with Western states “have never brought any benefit to anyone anywhere in the world.”

“The Armenian leadership decided to rely on extra-regional countries courting Yerevan, promising to help it in all its troubles so long as Armenia breaks relations with Russia and the integration structures created in our common region. The West does not hide this,” Lavrov said.

“We cannot prohibit them making any statements or announcements regarding our future ties,” he said when asked to comment on Pashinyan’s threats to pull Armenia out the CSTO. “If this is the opinion of the Armenian people, then let this be the new policy of the Yerevan authorities.”

“It takes political courage to say that since 1991, Armenia has taken an entirely wrong course in relations with Russia. If this is the assessment of the entire Armenian leadership based on the opinion of the people, then this makes it necessary to reconsider much in Russian-Armenian relations. We are waiting for official confirmation of what the final decision [of Yerevan] will be,” Lavrov added.

Lavrov was joined by Kremlin in asking Pashinyan for an explanation to his threats to leave the CSTO. Official Yerevan has not provided such an explanation, but Pashinyan said that his government has not received the proper responses to its inquires about the CSTO’s responsibilities to its member states.

The prime minister said last week that when Armenia called on the CSTO for assistance after Azerbaijan violated Armenia’s sovereign territory, the group did not take action and, furthermore, did not properly hold Azerbaijan responsible for the incursion.

He said CSTO’s posturing could be detrimental to Armenia’s security and territorial integrity.

Moscow, meanwhile, has countered that following Armenia’s appeal to the CSTO, the organization made fact-finding trips to Armenia and concluded that a mission would be sent to monitor the situation. Russia said that Armenia, instead, opted to accept a European Union mission, which Moscow calls ineffective and a deterrent to peace.

The Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on Monday told reporters that a meeting between President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Pashinyan are not planned, not ruling out, however, that the two leaders may speak by phone.

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