The Russian foreign ministry says Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s latest remarks on distancing his country from its alliance with Moscow are aimed at shifting blame for his failures onto Moscow while submitting to Western pressure was behind the “severe” defeat in Karabakh.
In a statement on Monday, the ministry said Pashinyan was trying to absolve himself “of responsibility for failures in domestic and foreign policy by shifting the blame to Moscow.”
The statement came a day after Pashinyan said the current foreign security systems of his country, which is a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), are “ineffective” after Azerbaijan’s victory in the decades-old conflict over the disputed region.
Pashinyan also said Russia had failed Armenia by not providing more assistance to avert the crisis over the region.
The Russian foreign ministry slammed Pashinyan’s statements as “unacceptable”, noting that the defeat came as Pashinyan “succumbed to Western influence.”
Pashinyan had “shied away from working in rhythm with Russia and Azerbaijan and instead had run to the West” to resolve the Karabakh crisis, the ministry said.
Baku took full control of the breakaway region last week following a 24-hour military operation against pro-Armenian forces. Azerbaijan cited “systematic” shelling, “reconnaissance activities,” fortification of defensive positions, and “high-level of combat readiness” by Armenian-backed troops for its operation.
“Had Nikol Pashinyan agreed to a ceasefire a few weeks earlier, the defeat would have been less severe,” the Russian ministry said.
Moscow also said that Pashinyan’s remarks about transforming security alliances indicate that the premier is preparing to pivot away from Armenia’s alliance with Moscow towards the West.
“We are convinced that the Yerevan leadership is making a massive mistake by deliberately trying to destroy Armenia’s multi-faceted and centuries-old ties with Russia while making the country hostage to the geopolitical games of the West,” the Russian foreign ministry’s statement said.
The statement also refuted claims that Moscow was behind the anti-government protests in Yerevan, stressing that “the reckless approach by Nikol Pashinyan’s team” was to blame for the discontent among Armenians.
“The head of the Armenian government should be well aware that Moscow does not get involved in such things – unlike the West which is pretty adept at organizing ‘color revolutions’,” Russia cautioned Pashinyan, in reference to the revolutions in several post-Soviet republics, including Ukraine.
Armenia has been hit by protests demanding the resignation of Pashinyan after separatist groups in Karabakh agreed to disarm under a Russian-mediated ceasefire deal.