MOSCOW (Reuters) – Armenia can no longer count on Russia as its main military and defense partner because Moscow has repeatedly failed it. Yerevan must therefore think about forging closer ties with the United States and France, the Prime Minister said. Nikol Pashinyan said.
Armenia, a small former Soviet republic bordered by Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey, has long relied on Russia as a major power ally, although Pashinyan has angered the Kremlin by calling it quits. question the foundations of the alliance.
“We need to understand with whom we can actually maintain military-technical and defense relations,” Pashinyan told Armenian Public Radio when asked about reforming the Armenian armed forces.
“Previously, this problem was simple because this question did not arise and there was no difficulty in creating a concept. Previously, 95-97% of our defense relations were with the Russian Federation. Now this cannot more be for both objective and subjective reasons,” he said.
Pashinyan said Armenia should think about what security ties it should establish with the United States, France, India and Georgia.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has faced competition from the United States for dominance of what were once Soviet republics and, before that, parts of the Russian Empire.
Pashinyan says Russia failed Armenia when Azerbaijan launched a lightning-fast military operation that regained control of the separatist enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, triggering an exodus of ethnic Armenians living there.
Russia says Pashinyan’s failure to deal with the South Caucasus’ complex rivalries is behind the 2023 defeat of ethnic Armenian fighters in Karabakh.
Azerbaijan has accused France of sowing the seeds of a new war by supplying weapons to Armenia, also courted by the United States.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Andrew Osborn)