Russia summons Armenia’s envoy over ‘unfriendly steps’

Russia has summoned Armenia’s ambassador to Moscow following a number of unwelcome gestures by Yerevan, including its announcement of joint war games with the United States.

The envoy was summoned to the Russian foreign ministry on Friday, three days after Armenia said it was to host a joint army exercise with the US during the upcoming week.

The Armenian defense ministry alleged that the purpose of the September 11-20 “Eagle Partner 2023” drills was to prepare its forces to take part in international peacekeeping missions.

“The Armenian leadership had in recent days taken a series of unfriendly steps,” the Russian ministry said in a statement.

Moscow, meanwhile, protested to Yerevan about a trip by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s wife to Kiev, which has been engaged in warfare with Russia since last February.

Yerevan has also increased its criticism of Moscow’s peacekeeping role in Nagorno Karabakh, a region which is disputed by Armenia and neighboring Azerbaijan.

Pashinyan had recently alleged that the Russian forces, which were deployed to the region to end 2020 hostilities between Yerevan and Baku, had failed in their role to protect civilians and their freedom of movement in a key corridor in Azerbaijani-controlled areas in Karabakh.

The Russian foreign ministry said the Armenian envoy was given a “tough presentation.”

The ministry stressed, though, that Russia and Armenia “remain allies and all agreements on developing the strengthening of the partnership will be fulfilled.”

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