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Russia slams Armenia for cutting contributions to CSTO

11 June 2024
Leaders of CSTO member states at a meeting dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Collective Security Treaty, 2022. Image via CSTO.

Moscow has criticised Yerevan for refusing to financially contribute to the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation’s (CSTO).

Armenia’s Foreign Ministry announced in early May that Yerevan would not sign the CSTO’s 2024 budget, effectively cutting its financial contributions to the security bloc.

Armenia has been snubbing the CSTO since late last year, when Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated that his country’s membership was ‘basically frozen’ after the organisation’s failure to come to Armenia’s defence in clashes with Azerbaijan.

On Monday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry told RIA Novosti that the CSTO would be forced to use existing reserves to adjust for Armenia’s lack of contribution.

They added that this was not the first time the organisation had covered Armenia’s contributions from its reserves, but that Armenia had subsequently repaid its debts to the organisation in the past.

They added that the CSTO had also reduced expenditures due to Armenia’s refusal to take up the post of Deputy Secretary-General and its recall of other staff from the organisation.

They stressed that Yerevan was still ‘obliged’ to fulfil its financial obligations.

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Armenia’s parliamentary speaker, Alen Simonyan, hit back on Monday, accusing the CSTO of failing to fulfil its security obligations towards Armenia for almost three years.

‘CSTO commitment, seriously? Do they still want a commitment from us?’ he asked.

Simonyan also criticised Moscow’s call on both Yerevan and Baku to maintain peace during Azerbaijan’s September 2023 attack on Nagorno-Karabakh, ‘in an event when Armenia was not doing anything, and the [Armenian] opposition was blaming us for it,’ he said.

Freefall in relations continues

Armenian–Russian relations have been in freefall since the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War in 2020, with Yerevan seemingly pushing itself away from the Moscow-led CSTO and the Commonwealth of Independent States in favour of closer security ties with the West.

In April, Pashinyan told British reporters that he did not have an answer as to why Armenia was still a member of the CSTO, noting that his country had relied on an organisation ‘on which one should not rely’.

In May, Pashinyan told parliament that at least two CSTO member states participated in preparing for war against Armenia in 2020, with the goal of destroying its statehood.

Moscow swiftly demanded that Pashinyan name the two member states and summoned its Ambassador to Armenia.

Armenia has also courted closer ties with Ukraine, sending a delegation to Bucha, the site of a massacre carried out by Russian forces in March 2022, earlier this year.

[Read more: Russia protests Armenian Bucha visit]

Armenia is also expected to participate in a conference for rebuilding war-torn Ukraine on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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