YEREVAN — Russia will withdraw its troops and border guards from Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan, it was announced on Thursday hours after Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia first sent them to Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province during and after the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh. The move requested by Pashinyan’s government was aimed at helping the Armenian military defend the strategic region against possible Azerbaijani attacks. Russian military personnel were subsequently deployed to four other Armenian provinces bordering Azerbaijan that included Tavush, Vayots Dzor, Gegharkunik, Ararat.

Hayk Konjoryan, the parliamentary leader of Armenia’s ruling Civil Contract party, said all of them will be withdrawn from the border areas under a Russian-Armenian agreement reached “at the highest level.” In a Facebook post, he said the agreement also confirmed the impending removal of a small number of Russian border guards from Yerevan’s Zvartnots international airport.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Putin and Pashinyan reached such an agreement when they met in Moscow on Wednesday night to discuss unprecedented tensions between their nations.

“In the fall of 2020, at the request of the Armenian side, our military and border guards were deployed in a number of Armenian regions,” Peskov told Russian news agencies. “Pashinian said that there is no such need anymore due to the changed conditions. President Putin therefore agreed, and the withdrawal of our military and border guards was agreed.”

Citing another “request of the Armenian side,” Peskov also said that Russian border guards will remain stationed along Armenia’s borders with Turkey and Iran.

Pashinyan announced on March 12 that his government has given Moscow until August 1 to withdraw the border guards from Zvartnots. Armenia, he said, has the capacity to “carry out border controls at the airport without the help of the Russian side.”

Russia also has a military base in Armenia’s second largest city, Gyumri.

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