10 Jan 2023 11:53

Armenia not to host CSTO exercises in 2023, as that's inexpedient - Pashinyan

YEREVAN. Jan 10 (Interfax) - Armenia believes it's inexpedient to host Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) exercises in 2023, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said.

"The Armenian defense minister has informed the CSTO Joint Staff that, under the circumstances, we believe it would be inexpedient to hold CSTO exercises in the Armenian territory. At least, this year, there will be no such exercises in Armenia," Pashinyan said at a press conference on Tuesday.

A CSTO exercise in Armenia could be a threat to the Turkish-Azerbaijani tandem in the region, he said.

"We deem the exercise to be inexpedient, because it would create a threat to the Turkish-Azerbaijani tandem. They will come here, hold an exercise, and then we will be left face to face with this threat," Pashinyan said.

This is why Armenia demands that the CSTO clarify its zone of responsibility in the region, he said.

"We say, we demand that they specify the zone of CSTO responsibility. The absence of their response presents a fundamental problem to us," Pashinyan said.

"I pin hopes on the CSTO but it's a different thing that the CSTO may disappoint," he said.

Speaking of Nagorno-Karabakh, Pashinyan said that Armenia had expressed concern about actions of the Russian peacekeepers but did not criticize them. "Besides, you need to understand that Azerbaijan had launched a state propaganda campaign to discredit the Russian peacekeepers," he said.

"Still, when the events happened in the village of Parukh and Azerbaijani forces entered the zone of responsibility of the peacekeepers, there was no reaction from them. There were also events in the village of Khtsaberd, where the Azerbaijani side captured Armenian citizens from the zone of responsibility of the peacekeepers. Armenian citizens were also captured in the Lachin corridor after it passed under control of the Russian peacekeepers. These are the questions we need to be answered. We are dealing with such issues," Pashinyan said.

He said he was discussing those questions with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on January 1, 2023, that units of the Russian Ground Forces would take part in the CSTO peacekeeping exercise Unbreakable Brotherhood 2023 in Armenia.