YEREVAN — Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has defended the policy of his government seeking to diversify relations in the security sphere, again noting the failure of the South Caucasus nation’s formal ally, Russia, to sell arms to it.
Apparently implying Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine that admittedly consumes a vast amount of armaments and resources from Moscow, Pashinyan said that the absence of arms supplies from partners was also due to “objective reasons.”
“We are looking for other security partners. And we are looking for and finding other security partners, we are trying to sign contracts, acquire some armaments. This is our policy,” the Armenian leader said in parliament on Wednesday.
Armenia recently signed military cooperation deals with France for the acquisition of such weapons as armored personnel vehicles, radars and short-range missiles.
Reports in media have also indicated that Armenia has signed contracts for the purchase of several types of armaments from India, including multiple-launch rocket systems, artillery, anti-tank rockets and ammunition, as well as mostly recently anti-drone military equipment.
During the question-and-answer session in parliament today Pashinyan again refused to be drawn into the discussion of whether Armenia plans to formally quit the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), nor would he speak about any security alternatives to membership in this organization.
“We are not planning to announce a change in our policy in strategic terms as long as we haven’t made a decision to quit the CSTO,” Pashinyan said in reply to a question from an opposition lawmaker.
Officials in Yerevan have not concealed their frustration with the CSTO, considering that the Russia-led bloc has failed to fulfill its obligation to Armenia to secure its borders and protect its sovereign territory against incursions by Azerbaijan.
“Our most important note concerning the processes taking place in the CSTO and our positions in this regard is that unfortunately the CSTO, with its de-jure mandatory obligations, did not provide a proper response to Armenia’s security challenges, and this has happened time and again,” Pashinyan said, adding that the absence of the CSTO’s proper response was also “not understandable for our society.”
The Armenian prime minister said that the “fundamental problem” was that the CSTO was refusing to de-jure fixate its area of responsibility in Armenia. “In these conditions this could mean that by silently participating we could join the logic that would question Armenia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. We can’t allow ourselves such a thing, and by making such decisions [not to attend CSTO gatherings] we give the CSTO and ourselves time to think over further actions,” Pashinyan said.