Head of Russia’s national security council to hold bilateral talks in Armenia

Rus sia’s National Security Council leader Nikolai Patrushev will meet with his Armenian counterpart Armen Grigoryan in Yerevan today. Armenia

Russia Armenia

Photo: Alexanyan/Flickrcil

Rus sia’s National Security Council leader Nikolai Patrushev will meet with his Armenian counterpart Armen Grigoryan in Yerevan today.

Armenia relies on Russia for arms supplies and is Moscow’s only ally in the South Caucasus region. Indeed, Armenia hosts the only Russian military base in the region and is the only regional representative in the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation. However, Russia has been wary of Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, in that his “velvet revolution” ascension to power in April 2018 was interpreted as “pro-West” in Moscow.

Regardless, Armenian security strategy centres on an unresolved conflict over the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nargorno-Karabakh—predominantly populated by ethnic-Armenians. Mr Pashinyan visited the region on August 5, appearing to reassert Armenian sovereignty over the disputed territory. This provoked a fresh war of words between the two South Caucasus rivals.

Mr Pashinyan’s provocative move raises speculation that rising tensions may see another breakout of hostilities in Nargorno-Karabakh. The PM could request more military equipment to better prepare for a repeat of 2016 hostilities. However, while Armenia is important to Russia, it does not stop Moscow selling arms to arch-enemy Azerbaijan. Whether Pashinyan’s warming relations with Moscow can result in a Russian-arms advantage vis-à-vis Azerbaijan will be tested by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit in October.

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