YEREVAN—In the wake of the criticism by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this week over what he called “political” arrests of former Armenian leaders, the press in Russia began disseminating false information claiming that Moscow was backing away from its military commitments to Armenia.
Both Armenia’s Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan and Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin, who is visiting Armenia, have denied these reports and asserted that no agreements with Russia have been halted.
At the center of Moscow’s criticism is Yuri Khachaturov, the Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, who was charged along with former president Robert Kocharian with “breaching Armenia’s Constitutional order” by allegedly involving Armenia’s military in post-election protests in 2008 during which eight civilians and two police officers were killed when protesters clashed with security officers. Khachaturov was released on bail and Armenia’s chief investigator said that the case did not intervene with him continuing his duties as head of the CSTO.
At the same time, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry has applied to remove Khachaturov from his post and will nominate another candidate to fill the position.
“That information is not true,” Fomin, the Russian deputy defense minister told reporters in Armenia’s Monte Melkonian Military-Academy, one of the stops during his visit to Armenia.
Fomin added that a judiciary process was taking place in Armenia, when asked to comment about the Khachaturov case.
Similarly on Friday, Defense Minister Tonoyan said a $100 million loan agreement with Russia for the purchase of military equipment had not been severed.
“The arms supply is in process within the frameworks of the $100 million loan agreement,” said Tonoyan who was accompanying Fomin to the Monte Melkonian Military-Academy.
He stated that Armenia acquires arms not only from the CSTO member states, but also other countries.
The minister also presented details on his meeting with Russian deputy defense minister Alexander Fomin. Tonoyan said they have discussed issues of bilateral interest in political, military-political fields.
Tonoyan also told reporters that Armenia should continue the chairmanship of the CSTO until the end of its term in 2020.
“At the moment the issue of the candidacy of the CSTO Secretary General has not been discussed, but Armenia must continue its chairmanship until its term expires,” said Tonoyan.
The defense minister also told reporters that the situation along the Artsakh-Azerbaijan, as well as the Nakhichevan-Armenia border is under control and relatively calm.