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Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has expressed disappointment that the Russian-led security alliance against Azerbaijan has not come to the aid of his country.

In his opening speech at the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit, which was also attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pashinyan questioned the effectiveness of the organization of the six countries.

Russia, the organization’s main member, has long had influence in the South Caucasus region, on the border between Turkey and Iran, where Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two major wars since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

But as Russia grapples with a nine-month war in Ukraine, it risks losing influence in parts of the former Soviet Union that it has long considered its backyard.

In September, clashes broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the parties announced the death of more than 200 soldiers.

Speaking at a meeting in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, Pashinyan said: “It is regrettable that Armenia’s membership in the CSTO did not deter Azerbaijan from its aggressive actions.”

Pashinyan said: “Until now, we have not been able to come to a decision on how the CSTO will react to Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenia. These facts seriously damage the image of the organization both inside and outside our country, and I consider this the main basis of Armenia’s chairmanship in the CSTO: “I consider this a failure,” he said.

Armenia applied to the organization for direct assistance in September, but this request was answered only with an obligation to send observers.

Pashinyan compared it to the alliance’s decision in January to send troops to another member state, Kazakhstan, to help President Kasim Chomert Tokayev weather the wave of protests.

Baku and Yerevan blame each other for the worst conflict since the 2020 44-day war, during which Azerbaijan gained a number of important territories and killed more than 6,000 people.

The two countries have been in a state of tension for years over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is recognized by the international community as part of Azerbaijan but is controlled by a majority of ethnic Armenians backed by Yerevan.

In his speech at the summit, Putin acknowledged some of the “problems” facing the CSTO, which he did not specify; He said that more efforts should be made to reach a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Putin said that this would be possible only if the borders were defined, barriers on transport and communication routes were removed, and agreements on solving humanitarian problems were implemented.

Russia sent 1,960 peacekeepers to the region as part of a ceasefire agreement in 2020. However, Moscow appears to have made little headway in resolving outstanding issues on both sides, including the legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh and the ethnic Armenians living there.

Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey, is not a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which includes Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, as well as Russia and Armenia.

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