World News

Armenia Conducts Joint Military Exercises With US, Straining Relations With Regional Partner Russia

The Joint U.S.-Armenian military exercises began this week in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, resulting in tension with Russia, which sees Armenia as its regional ally. The drills involve 175 Armenian and 85 U.S. soldiers, including members of the Kansas National Guard, and are aimed at training Armenia’s military for international peacekeeping operations. Despite Armenia’s membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance led by Moscow, it is conducting these joint drills with the United States. This has drawn criticism from Russia, with Sergey Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, stating that CSTO members should hold maneuvers with their allies. This comes at a time when Armenia has also irked Moscow by endorsing the International Criminal Court (ICC) through the ratification of the Rome Statute. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan denies that these actions are directed at Russia and instead attributes them to the situation with Azerbaijan. There is growing friction between Russia and Armenia due to border disputes and allegations of Russian inaction in ensuring Armenia’s security. As a result, Armenia is seeking to diversify its security arrangements, possibly hinting at a closer relationship with the United States and the West. The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region remains a source of tension, with Russia supporting Azerbaijan’s claim to the region. The ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia in 2020 left Azerbaijan in control of Nagorno-Karabakh, and Russian peacekeepers are deployed along the border. Despite recent border flare-ups, Russia maintains that the ceasefire agreement is still valid and that Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan.

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