Armenia to depart Russia-led military bloc in accordance with agreement with France, claims Moscow analyst

Armenia’s Prime Minister’s recent remarks indicating a “freeze” in cooperation with the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russian-led military alliance, are linked to recent agreements with France, signaling a shift towards increased military collaboration with Western nations, according to a Russian political expert.

Speaking to Anadolu, Igor Korotchenko, Director General of the Moscow-based Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies, stated that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s discussions with French President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Paris earlier this month included deliberations on Armenia’s potential departure from the CSTO. Korotchenko asserted that Pashinyan’s actions align with an agreed-upon plan with Macron, emphasizing Armenia’s intent to gradually enhance ties with Western partners, with France being a key ally.

During Pashinyan’s Paris visit, an agreement was reportedly reached between French intelligence (DGSE) and Armenia’s newly established intelligence agency, focusing on data exchange concerning Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia, and Turkey. Furthermore, France will provide satellite data to Armenia on military and political developments around its borders.

Korotchenko highlighted Armenia’s economic reliance on Russia, including membership benefits in the Eurasian Economic Union, as a factor deterring a complete break with the CSTO and Russia. However, he emphasized Pashinyan’s commitment to align with France and Western interests, despite potential repercussions.

Regarding Pashinyan’s accusations against Azerbaijan, Korotchenko dismissed them as politically motivated, suggesting French influence aimed at vilifying Azerbaijan to justify potential economic sanctions. Pashinyan announced Armenia’s suspension of CSTO participation during an interview with France24, yet the Kremlin reported no official notification from Yerevan regarding this decision.

The CSTO, comprising six former Soviet states, failed to meet Armenia’s expectations, particularly in 2021 and 2022, according to Pashinyan. The alliance’s other members are Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. The fall 2020 conflict saw Azerbaijan reclaiming much of the Karabakh region from Armenian control, with a Russian-brokered peace deal facilitating normalization between the two countries.–Web Desk