Russian peacekeepers deployed to the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus had “failed in their mission”, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in an interview with Politico published on Thursday.
Pashinyan said that security in the region, which is legally part of Azerbaijan but which has a large Armenian population, had deteriorated drastically following Azerbaijan’s blocking of the Lachin corridor, the road link between Karabakh and Armenia that is a vital supply route for ethnic Armenian inhabitants of the region.
Pashinyan said that while the Lachin corridor remained blocked “the Russian peacekeepers have failed in their mission”, though he conceded he was unable to say that the situation would have been better had the Russian peacekeepers not been deployed to the region in the first place.
Pashinyan said he believed that Moscow could no longer exert influence on Azerbaijan, adding that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine meant that Armenia could not continue to rely on Moscow as the guarantor of its security.
Putin and Pashinyan at a meeting in May 2023. Photo: Kremlin.ru
Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Armenian ambassador to issue “a strong note of protest over Yerevan’s hostile actions”, following its decision to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine for the first time, as well as the announcement that Armenian troops would participate in joint exercises with the US military.