MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested on Thursday that Armenia is not planning to leave Russian-led military and economic blocs despite boycotting recent high-level meetings of their member states.

“I don’t think that it is in Armenia’s interests to end its membership in the [Commonwealth of Independent States,] the [Eurasian Economic Union,] and the [Collective Security Treaty Organization,]” he told a year-end news conference in Moscow. “Ultimately, this is still the choice of the state.”

“As for the absence of the prime minister of Armenia [Nikol Pashinyan] from common events, we know that this is due to some processes in Armenia and is not related to a desire or unwillingness to continue working in these integration associations. We’ll see how the situation develops,”

Those processes are “connected with Karabakh,” Putin said, referring to Azerbaijan’s September 19-20 military offensive in the region launched despite the presence of Russian peacekeeping forces there.

“But it’s not we who abandoned Karabakh,” he went on. “It’s Armenia that recognized Karabakh as a part of Azerbaijan. They did so purposefully and did not quite inform us that they are about to make such a decision.”

Armenian leaders have faulted the Russians for their failure to prevent, stop or even condemn the Azerbaijani military operation despite the 2020 ceasefire brokered by Putin.

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