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Armenia to hold large-scale military exercises


Armenia to hold large-scale military exercises

Photo: Narek Aleksanyan/Getty

The Armenian military will today begin the first of four days of large-scale military exercises.

The exercises will coincide with similar drills occurring across the border in Azerbaijan. These mirrored movements come as Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan faces mounting criticism and calls for his resignation over the November peace deal that ended the 2020 Nagorno Karabakh war and ceded much of the contested territory to Azerbaijan.

While today’s exercises come at a sensitive time following the cessation of hostilities between Baku and Yerevan, do not expect them to be the casus belli for further conflict. Though Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has made recent statements threatening to use force if Armenia refuses to open the Nakhchivan Corridor (a proposed land route linking Azerbaijan with its enclave in Nakhchivan), Russia brokered the November 2020 peace deal and maintains peacekeeping forces in the region, so neither party is likely to transgress Moscow’s wishes for continued stability.

Despite today’s show of force along the border, expect protests by dissatisfied Armenians to ramp up. After Pashinyan’s decision to dismiss army chief of staff Onik Gasparyan, pressure is building from both the military and general population for his resignation. Without the support of either group, Pashinyan’s ouster grows increasingly likely.

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