Armenian protesters demand their country leave Moscow-led military alliance

More than a hundred people gathered in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, on Sunday to demand that their country leave the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

The organization is a Russian-led military alliance that includes several former Soviet nations, including Armenia.

Azerbaijan, a neighbor of Armenia, is not part of the organization.

Protesters argued that the alliance had not done enough to protect their country during recent fighting with Azerbaijan. And they called on Yerevan to come closer to the Western powers.

“The United States and Europe are our last hope,” said a woman at the protest. “I’m here today because I want us out of the CSTO.

“The CSTO has become a useless organization for our state. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t help it.”

Another protester said: “This thing called the CSTO is only there to defend the interests of Russia.

“This organization was supposed to help Armenia during the war, and it didn’t help.”

The calls come after fighting broke out along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border last week.

Shortly after midnight on September 13, Yerevan claimed that Baku had bombed six Armenian settlements within its borders and that this aggression was unprovoked.

Baku denies these claims and said its army was responding to Armenian attempts to undermine Azeri positions. Yerevan also denied the charge.

The CSTO said it was sending a monitoring mission to the region in response to the fighting which it said killed more than 200 troops on both sides.

The two countries fought two previous wars on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

In 2020, a six-week war resulted in the deaths of over 6,500 soldiers. And more than 91,000 people were forced to flee the territory to Armenia.

The recent protest comes after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the country for a three-day trip. Pelosi is the most senior US official to visit Armenia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“Illegal attack on Armenia”

During her historic visit, she described the fighting as an illegal attack on Armenian territory by its neighbor.

“We strongly condemn these attacks – on behalf of Congress – which threaten (the) prospects for the much-needed peace agreement,” Pelosi said at a press conference.

“Armenia has special significance for us because of the security focus following an illegal and deadly attack by Azerbaijan on Armenian territory.”

Azerbaijan responded to the accusation calling it ‘unfair’ and ‘unacceptable’

“The unsubstantiated and unjust accusations made by Pelosi against Azerbaijan are unacceptable,” the country’s foreign ministry said.

“This is a serious blow to efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.”

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