Another country Putin thought was his friend has snubbed Russia by refusing to host its military for routine exercises

putin armenia
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (L) seen during the CSTO welcoming ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia, on November 23, 2022.Contributor/Getty Images
  • Armenia’s leader has canceled Russian military drills planned in the country for later this year.
  • Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said the drills were “inappropriate in the current situation,” AP reported.
  • Pashinyan has accused Russia of failing to help in its ongoing conflict with Azerbaijan.

Armenia has refused to host Russia’s military for routine exercises, another snub from a country President Vladimir Putin thought was an ally.

On Tuesday, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that he had canceled military drills planned by the  Collective Security Treaty Organization —  a Russian-dominated alliance of post-Soviet nations — later this year, the Associated Press reported.

“At least this year, these drills won’t take place,” he said at a press conference, calling the drills “inappropriate in the current situation.”

“Russia’s military presence in Armenia not only fails to guarantee its security, but it raises security threats for Armenia,” Pashinyan added, according to AP.

The Armenian leader also criticized Russian peacekeepers’ failure to take a more active role around the disputed separatist region of Nagorno-Karabak, saying that he will seek support from the US and the European Union to help ease the tensions with Azerbaijan.

Nagorno-Karabakh has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces since a separatist war there ended in 1994. Starting last month, Azerbaijani activists have been blocking a free corridor linking Armenia to the region.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov played down the quarrel, calling the country “our very close ally,” according to AP.

Pashinyan’s latest move is another sign of tensions growing among Russia’s allies.

In a CSTO summit last November, Putin was repeatedly snubbed by Pashinyan, including when the Armenian prime minister refused to be photographed in close proximity to him.

Other members of CSTO include Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Azerbaijan is not part of the group.

Putin has become increasingly isolated on the world stage over his full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

India’s prime minister criticized the Ukraine invasion directly to Putin in September, while the Russian president also admitted last year that China has “questions and concerns” about its actions in Ukraine.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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