YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Russian President Vladimir Putin telephoned Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian on Monday to discuss close ties between their countries and the future of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

Putin also had separate phone calls earlier in the day with the presidents of Kazakhstan and Belarus, two other members of the Russian-led trade bloc.

In a short statement, the Kremlin said Putin and Pashinian touched upon “issues pertaining to the Eurasian Economic Union and bilateral cooperation.” It did not elaborate.

Pashinian’s press office likewise said that they “exchanged thoughts on further development of integration processes in the EEU framework.”

The two men most recently held talks in Moscow on June 13. In his opening remarks at that meeting, Putin pointed to rapidly growing Armenian exports to Russia. He attributed that to Armenia’s membership in the EEU.

Pashinian has opposed that membership in the past. However, he made clear that he will not pull his country out of the EEU or the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) after sweeping to power in a wave of mass protests in May.

According to the official Armenian readout of the phone call, Pashinian and Putin also discussed “a number of issues on the agenda of Russian-Armenian allied relations.” No details were reported.

Last Thursday, Pashinian strongly criticized Russian troops stationed in Armenia for holding an exercise in an Armenian village that caused panic among local residents. Speaking at a news conference the following day, the premier said Yerevan expects Moscow to prevent Azerbaijan from starting another war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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