YEREVAN — Armenian MPs from the ruling Civic Contract party of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan lashed out at Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who made anti-Armenian statements in an interview with Russian state-owned television.
In a televised interview with a pro-Kremlin Russian journalist broadcast on Monday, Lukashenko predicted that Moscow will cobble together a “union of sovereign states” with common defense, national security and economic systems over the next 10 to 15 years. He said it will compromise not only Russia and Belarus but also Central Asian states, Armenia and even Ukraine.
“Armenia has nowhere [else] to go,” claimed the long-serving Belarusian strongman. “Do you think anyone needs them?”
“They have already seen that. Nikol Vovaevich [Pashinyan] has seen that,” he added in reference to the Armenian prime minister.
The Armenian government hit back at Lukashenko through the Armenian Foreign Ministry and pro-government parliamentarians.
“We believe that the Belarusian president’s peculiar geopolitical analyses aim to first and foremost serve his domestic political agenda and have nothing to do with Armenia and its foreign policy,” the ministry spokesman, Vahan Hunanyan, said in written comments to the press.
Lawmakers representing Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party went further, launching scathing attacks on Lukashenko on the Armenian parliament floor.
“The leader of a partner state has no right to express such thoughts about another partner state,” one of them, Vagharshak Hakobyan, said.
Another Civil Contract deputy, Hovik Aghazaryan, accused Lukashenko of “doing the Russian authorities and Russian statehood a disservice.”
Aghazaryan also said: “Before making statements, Lukashenko had better inspect the airport of [the Belarusian capital] Minsk, which looks more like a pigsty.”
Another MP Rustam Bakoyan raised a counter question: “And who needs Lukashenko?”
“This rhetorical question, I think, (the Belarusian) people asked him, and the processes that occurred in that country were a clear assessment of Lukashenko’s previous terms in office, the state he kept the country in and what the result is,” he said.
Russia and Belarus signed a Union State treaty in 1999 and have been negotiating on and off since then.
Lukashenko, who has a warm rapport with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, has repeatedly raised eyebrows in Yerevan in the past with pro-Azerbaijani statements on the Karabakh conflict and arms supplies to Baku. In 2018, he also questioned Armenia’s role in the Collective Security Treaty Organization after Armenian law-enforcement authorities indicted Yuri Khachaturov, the then secretary general of the Russian-led military alliance.
Later in the day, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Armenia Alexander Konyuk visited the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Ministry Spokesman Vahan Hunanyan confirmed to Armenpress. The Spokesperson refrained from providing further details.
The visit comes in the wake of statements of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on the possibility of Armenia joining the Union State of Russia and Belarus.