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Armenia orders Russian border guards out of Yerevan Airport

7 March 2024
Yerevan’s Zvartnots Airport. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Armenia has said it has informed Russia that its border guards should leave the Yerevan Zvartnots Airport, where they have been stationed since the country’s independence.

On Wednesday, the Secretary of the Security Council, Armen Grigoryan, said they had informed Russia of this in an official letter, contradicting Russian claims that they had not been informed of any change.

‘Armenia has a clear position on this issue, and the Russian Federation was informed about this clear position in an official letter’, Grigoryan said.

On Thursday, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan reiterated that the Russian side had been informed. 

He said that Russian border guards had been stationed at the airport at independence as Armenia was at the time not able to control the border alone. ‘Now we believe that Armenia is institutionally able to carry out the border guard service alone at Zvartnots Airport’, he said.

The comments came after Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov claimed Russia was not aware of any decisions made regarding the withdrawal of Russian border guards from Zvartnots Airport. ‘No one brought these decisions to us through official channels,’ he said earlier on Wednesday.

Reports of the possible removal of Russian border guards from Zvartnots Airport first emerged in late February.


The Speaker of Parliament, Alen Simonyan, subsequently stated that Russian border guards should leave the airport. 

‘It was proved many times that they did not protect [Armenia’s] borders. What did they do when they came to Nagorno-Karabakh? Escorted the Armenian people out? Was that what they defended? Would they one day escort you and me out of Zvartnots?’, said Simonyan.

‘If one has bad relations with many, it is not the problem of the many’

The decision comes as Armenia’s relations with Russia continue to plummet.

Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on Armenia to ‘decide for themselves’ on their future relations, including their membership in multinational organisations they are both members of.

In February, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced the country had ‘frozen’ its participation in the Russia-led security bloc, the CSTO.

Armenian Security Council head Armen Grigoryan responded to Lavrov by stating he ‘would rather say Russia should clarify its position as a CSTO member’.

He said that in discussions with the block since May 2021 ‘we insisted that Armenia has a border with Azerbaijan, the CSTO claimed that it does not have and did not recognise and even did not condemn the occupation of Armenian territories.’

Grigoryan said Armenia was following a policy of diversification in the economy, politics, and security.

He also said that while Armenia was being blamed for ‘ruining Armenia-Russia relations’, it was Russia that was responsible for its deteriorating ties with Armenia and other countries. 

‘If one has bad relations with many, it is not the problem of the many, it is probably the problem of that one,’ Grigoryan said.

Hitting back on Wednesday Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova warned that Armenia could face the same fate as Ukraine.

‘Ukraine was lured into Western networks; they promised a wonderful perspective, painted everything in the best light as we say, and then threw it away’ she said, adding that she would not wish for the same to happen to Armenia.

Read in Russian on SOVA.News.
Read in Georgian on On.ge.
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