(Reuters) – Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Friday that Russia had not yet delivered weapons his country had paid for and that talks were underway to try to find a solution, Russian state news agency TASS reported.
Relations between Russia and Armenia, treaty allies, have soured in recent months, with Pashinyan accusing Moscow of failing to support his country in its conflict with longtime rival Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Baku’s forces in September recaptured Karabakh, which is viewed internationally as part of Azerbaijan, prompting more than 100,000 ethnic Armenians to flee the territory into Armenia as Russian peacekeepers largely stood by.
“As for the non-provision of weapons and equipment in exchange for payments, of course, there are problems,” TASS quoted Pashinyan as saying during a press conference broadcast online.
“Consultations are underway on mechanisms for solving these problems,” he said, adding that one option might be to reduce Armenia’s outstanding debts to Russia in exchange for the payment already made, given that Moscow also needed weapons.
He gave no details on the arms that Armenia had bought or how much it had paid for them.
Pashinyan also accused Russian state television channels broadcasting in Armenia of violating local rules, saying that consultations with Moscow on that issue were also needed.
Russian state television has repeatedly blamed Pashinyan for Armenia’s loss of Karabakh.
The Armenian premier referred to a bilateral accord between Yerevan and Moscow which stipulates “that no steps should be taken to interfere in the internal affairs of the country, to destabilize the internal political situation in the country”.
Pashinyan has annoyed Moscow in recent months by calling into question Armenia’s alliance with Russia and seeking to deepen ties to Western countries, while also purchasing arms from new suppliers including France and India.
(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Felix Light; Editing by Andrew Osborn and Gareth Jones)