Armenia recalls post envoy from CSTO

Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturian has decided to recall Viktor Biyagov from the post of Armenia’s permanent and plenipotentiary representative to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The decision was made upon the submission of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

Biyagov, who had served as the CSTO post-president since 2018, was appointed Armenia’s permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and ambassador to the Netherlands.

Armenian authorities regularly criticize Russia and the CSTO for inaction and lack of response to Yerevan’s requests for assistance. In an interview with La Repubblica on Sunday, September 3, Pashinyan spoke about Russia’s distancing itself from the South Caucasus. The prime minister emphasized that Russian peacekeepers are not capable of controlling the Lachin corridor.

In December 2022, unidentified individuals posing as environmental activists from Azerbaijan blocked the Lachin corridor, which caused serious disruptions in gas, electricity and food supplies to Nagorno-Karabakh. The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that Moscow continues to work to improve the situation.

An Azerbaijani checkpoint was set up in the Lachin corridor in April, sparking controversy and accusations of “gross violations” on both sides. Russia has also called on Azerbaijan to unblock the Lachin corridor, and the UN International Court of Justice has supported the idea of ensuring freedom of movement in the region.

In May, Pashinyan said the CSTO was not responding to Yerevan’s requests to send a monitoring mission and allowed Armenia’s withdrawal from the CSTO. “It is constantly discussed whether the monitoring group will come to Armenia or not, why it will not come, we are transparent about it. I do not rule out that Armenia may decide to suspend or freeze its CSTO membership,” he said.

In response to Pashinian’s words about Russia’s estrangement from the South Caucasus, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow is not going to and cannot leave the region. He acknowledged that there have been “events here that have slightly changed the situation”. “But this does not mean that Russia is somehow going to curtail its activities. On the contrary, we believe that Russia continues to fulfill its role as a guarantor of security”, he concluded.

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