The Armenian and United States armed forces are set to embark on collaborative military exercises in the near future. Dubbed “Eagle Partner 2023,” these maneuvers, announced by the Armenian Defense Ministry on Wednesday, are scheduled to occur between September 11 and September 20. This development comes amidst recent accusations from Yerevan that Moscow has not fulfilled its security commitments and is gradually disengaging from the South Caucasus region.
The primary objective of this joint military exercise between Armenia and the United States is to enhance preparedness for participating in international peacekeeping missions, as reported by Reuters. This development is expected to bolster the Kremlin’s position further.
Tensions between Moscow and Yerevan have been on the rise across multiple fronts. For instance, on Wednesday, a joint military exercise under the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) concluded in Belarus. Interestingly, Armenia, still a member of this organization alongside Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, chose not to deploy its troops. Speculation is rife that Yerevan might even consider leaving this organization altogether.
At the same time, Armenia has extended humanitarian aid to Kiev for the first time since the onset of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. Radio Azatutyun, funded by the United States, highlighted this gesture and indicated that Yerevan would officially announce the dispatch of aid in the near future.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikola Pashinyan, in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica last week, criticized the sole reliance on Russia for ensuring his country’s security. He accused Moscow of failing to guarantee Armenia’s security, especially in light of aggression from neighboring Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. Pashinyan argued that Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict was depleting its resources, leading to a gradual withdrawal from the South Caucasus.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to these assertions, stating that Russia is an integral part of the region and cannot simply depart. He emphasized that Russia would continue its role as a guarantor of security and stability in the South Caucasus, particularly in Nagorno-Karabakh.
It is important to note that Yerevan has a security treaty with Moscow and hosts a Russian military base. The six-week conflict between Yerevan and Baku culminated in a ceasefire brokered by Russia, resulting in Azerbaijan reclaiming territories adjacent to the disputed enclave and parts of Karabakh itself. Local media suggest that Azerbaijan effectively controls the remaining narrow corridor linking Karabakh and Armenia.