Armenian PM: Russia isn’t defending us because we aren’t pro-Moscow enough

Nikol Pashinyan says the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine has distracted it from its peacekeeping duties


3 September 2023

Nikol Pashinyan (left) and Vladimir Putin
Nikol Pashinyan (left) says there is no point in striking security deals with Russia CREDIT: VALERY SHARIFULIN/AFP

Armenia’s prime minister has accused the Kremlin of failing to defend Armenia against Azerbaijani aggressionpartly because it did not back its war in Ukraine.

Nikol Pashinyan said that the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine has distracted it from its peacekeeping duties and that there is no point in striking security deals with Russia.

“Armenia’s security architecture was 99.999 per cent linked to Russia,” he told Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper. “Dependence on just one partner in security matters is a strategic mistake.”

Since a war in 2020, Russian soldiers have been deployed as peacekeepers between Azerbaijani and Armenia forces but Mr Pashinyan has accused them of being disinterested in stopping rising tension.

Armenia has traditionally maintained strong ties with the Kremlin and looked to it for military support. It hosts one of the Kremlin’s largest overseas bases.

Not enough Armenian support for Russia

Mr Pashinyan’s frustrations with the Kremlin are typical for leaders of ex-Soviet countries in the South Caucasus and Central Asia whose economies, militaries and societies are tightly entwined with Russia.

The Kremlin has pressured them to back its war in Ukraine and reacted with trade boycotts and threats when they haven’t.

And although Mr Pashinyan has been careful not to criticise the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine and Armenian companies have helped Russian companies skirt Western sanctions, he said this was not enough for Russia.

“In Russia, they do not consider Armenia to be pro-Russia enough because Armenia does not provide enough assistance to them in the Ukrainian issue,” he said.

Mr Pashinyan also said that the Kremlin had lost interest in the region and was planning to leave. The Kremlin has withdrawn soldiers from Armenia to deploy to Ukraine.

This year, Armenia has cut arms deals with Russia and started buying more weapons from India. It has also hinted it wants to leave the Russia-dominated CSTO security group.


  1. Selected comments from DT readers:

    Phil Straw
    Bit delusional to expect Russia to provide “peacekeeping” duties

    Martyn Edwards
    Reply to Phil Straw
    The Armenian prime minister’s claim that Russia is not providing meaningful military assistance because Armenia did not back Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enough hardly rings true.
    Armenia was one of just ten countries to approve the accession of Crimea to Russia at a UN meeting.
    The other countries were:
    Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Syria, Sudan, Venezuala, Zimbabwe.

    Scott Driver
    Ukraine has a little something to do with demilitarizing Orclandia’s military and forcing Orcs to have to redeploy troops from different places to the Ukraine to replace HUGE losses there

    Florian Biermann
    Many young Armenians buy themselves out of army service. This is illegal but the army is extremely corrupt. For a country surrounded by enemies, that is extraordinary.
    Incapable of defending themselves, the Armenians are completely dependent on the Russians for their security.
    I have little hope for Armenia, but it’s the Armenians who are themselves responsible for the situation they’re in.

  2. There is an opportunity for the allies here. Pashinyan has for some time been indicating; at some risk to himself, that Armenia is tiring of being a Russia lackey.
    Neighbouring Georgia on the other hand, has a rotten putler-compliant regime that ignores the wishes of the people to allow itself to be dragged back towards RuZZian subjugation.

  3. “Dependence on just one partner in security matters is a strategic mistake.”

    Maybe, but dependence on mafia land is much more than just a strategic mistake.

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