Yerevan Wants Russia to Withdraw its Border Guards from Zvartnots Airport - English
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English :

08 Mart 2024  

Yerevan Wants Russia to Withdraw its Border Guards from Zvartnots Airport -

Yerevan Wants Russia to Withdraw its Border Guards from Zvartnots Airport Yerevan Wants Russia to Withdraw its Border Guards from Zvartnots Airport

Armenia said it has informed Russia that its border guards should be withdrawn from the Zvartnots International Airport, adding that Armenian guards should fully be able to perform those duties.

The discussion about Russian border guards being withdrawn from Zvartnots began circulating when Parliament Speaker Alan Simonyan, in his usual banter against Moscow, told reporters that they demanded their departure.

On Wednesday, however, Armenia’s National Security chief Armen Grigoryan claimed that, in fact, Yerevan has informed Moscow of its intentions.

Grigoryan told reporters that Armenian border guards should fully assume the responsibilities at Zvartnots, adding that, ”Armenia has a clear position on this issue and has informed the Russian Federation about it with an official letter.”

Through a multi-decade-long agreement between Yerevan and Moscow, Russian soldiers are currently guarding Armenia’s borders with Turkey and Iran, as well as patrolling security at Zvartnots.

”At this moment, Armenia has full capability for full control over the airport,” Grigoryan told reporters.

The Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday said that his office was unaware of such a request from Yerevan.

“As far as we understand, there have been no decisions on this matter. And no one has informed us, through official channels, about those decisions,” Peskov said.

Grigoryan briefed reporters about his closed-door meeting with lawmakers of the ruling Civil Contract party, touching on an array of Russia-centric issues that were discussed.

Demands for the Russian border guards’ withdrawal came soon after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signaled that his government would consider pulling out of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, prompting the Kremlin to demand answers from the Armenian leader.

Grigoryan told reported that Russia should clarify its position as a CSTO member, rather than ask Armenia for such clarifications.

“You are aware that our recent engagement with the CSTO, at least since May 2021, our discussion with the CSTO was that we claimed that Armenia has a border with Azerbaijan, the CSTO claimed that it does not, and did not recognize that border, nor did it condemn the [Azerbaijani] occupation of the territory of Armenia. I would say that here there is a greater need for Russia, as a member of the CSTO, to clarify its positions towards Armenia, rather than for Armenia to clarify,” Grigoryan said.

He went a step further and accused Russia of not fulfilling the security guarantees engrained in various agreements between Armenia and Russia.

“We [Armenia] have interconnected all our security guarantees with Russia at least until December 2021 — you can even say 100 percent. And we had three large-scale attacks and the occupation of the territory of Armenia by Azerbaijan,” Grigoryan said.

“We have had many other problems. Now, given these problems, is Armenia to blame that they attacked Armenia? Definitely not. Armenia’s allies simply did not help it when it was faced with a security threat. Taking this into account, Armenia has started diversifying and looking for new security guarantees,” Grigoryan added.

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