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Armenia to leave CSTO if Yerevan deems it 'non-functional organization'— prime minister

Nikol Pashinyan added that Armenia’s participation in the CSTO’s upcoming drills in Kyrgyzstan was possible

YEREVAN, May 22. /TASS/. Armenia will make a decision on whether to withdraw from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) if Yerevan determines that it is a "non-functional" structure, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at a press conference on Monday.

"If Armenia decides de jure to leave the CSTO, it would happen only after Armenia establishes that the CSTO has left Armenia. This agenda exists should the CSTO become a non-functional organization. Then we would have to resolve our security issues on our own," he said.

The Armenian prime minister added that Armenia’s participation in the CSTO’s upcoming drills in Kyrgyzstan was possible. "Armenia’s participation in the CTSO drills is currently being discussed. Additionally, its format and extent, in the event we do participate, are also being discussed," he specified.

On January 10, Pashinyan said that under current conditions, Armenia would not be hosting the 2023 CSTO military exercise on its soil.

As the Russian Foreign Ministry said on January 26, Moscow noted that Yerevan had made a choice in favor of the EU without allowing work pertaining to the CSTO’s mission to unfold to its logical conclusion. The Russian Foreign Ministry clarified that the appearance of EU representatives in Armenia’s border regions could only serve to exacerbate existing differences and spark a geopolitical standoff in the region. On February 20, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow saw purely geopolitical motivations, which are far removed from the interests of normalizing the situation in the south Caucasus, behind the EU’s civilian mission to Armenia, as well as a move aimed at muscling Russia out of the region.