MOSCOW (AA) – Armenia’s refusal to host military exercises of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) creates certain difficulties, Russia has said.
Countries in the alliance are now forced to change previously agreed upon defense services plans, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a press briefing in Moscow.
“As far as we know, the relevant work (on the change of plans) is being conducted in the CSTO, we believe that optimal solutions will be found on organizing this year’s effective training of CSTO peacekeepers,” she said.
The spokeswoman noted that work was ongoing to settle the situation in the Lachin corridor, a road that connects Armenia to the Karabakh region and where tensions are said to have ignited recently due to protests over what Azerbaijan says is illegal exploitation of natural resources by Armenia.
Relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan had been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
In the fall of 2020, during 44 days of heavy fighting, Azerbaijan liberated a significant part of Karabakh, and a Russian-brokered peace agreement was subsequently signed, considered a triumph in Baku.
Armenia has called on Russian peacekeepers, deployed to monitor the peace deal, to unblock the road.
“It is necessary to find a solution acceptable to all parties,” said Zakharova, adding that at the moment, humanitarian aid convoys are passing through the humanitarian corridor.
“In any case, we are determined to engage in substantive work to resolve the situation around the Lachin corridor, not in populism,” she stressed.
Zakharova said Moscow supports the work of the Armenian-Azerbaijani commission on border delimitation.
Russia, for its part, is ready to provide the documents it has on the matter, including maps, she added.
Zakharova also criticized “absurd” Armenian statements claiming that Russia’s presence in the region created a threat for Yerevan.
“For decades, our military and border guards have been contributing to the security of Armenia, preserving its borders.
Those calling to oust the Russian military from Armenia “clearly do not realize the real consequences of such a step,” added Zakharova.