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Friendship falling apart. Why Pashinyan picks a quarrel with Lukashenko

Friendship falling apart. Why Pashinyan picks a quarrel with Lukashenko Photo: Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Aleksander Lukashenko (Getty Images)

A serious scandal erupted between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, who are allies within the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Yerevan will not send officials to Belarus, and Minsk has recalled its ambassador.

RBC-Ukraine reports on what happened between Armenia and Belarus and how the Nagorno-Karabakh war is involved.


Origin of the scandal

In May, the Belarusian dictator flew to meet with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku. During the meeting, Lukashenko recalled a conversation with Aliyev before the start of the Azerbaijani military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh.

"I remembered our conversation before the war, before your liberation war, when we philosophized over lunch together. Then we came to the conclusion that winning is possible in war. It is important. It is very important to maintain this victory. But, thirdly, we agreed that you raised the issue that after the war, the most difficult time would begin when it would be necessary to revive the lands you liberated, to start the revival," Lukashenko said.

In 2020, Azerbaijan launched a military operation to regain control over territories of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed region that Armenia had de facto occupied in the 1990s.

Azerbaijan's operation ended in 2023 after the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh ceased to exist, and its territories returned under Azerbaijani control. Since then, negotiations for a peaceful settlement between Yerevan and Baku have been ongoing to end the years-long conflict.

Pashinyan's reaction

Today, responding to questions from the opposition in the Armenian parliament, Pashinyan referred to the words of the Belarusian dictator and stated that no official representative of Armenia, including himself, will go to Belarus as long as Lukashenko remains in power there.

"One of the leaders of the CSTO countries states that he was involved in preparing for the war, encouraged, believed in, and wished for Azerbaijan's victory. And after this, am I supposed to go with the head of Belarus to discuss something in the CSTO format? I state that I will never go to Belarus again. As long as Alexander Lukashenko is the president of Belarus. And I declare that from this moment on, no official representative of Armenia will go to Belarus. At all," said Pashinyan.

Armenia and Belarus are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance founded in 1992. Initially, the treaty was signed by Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan. However, in 1999, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Uzbekistan did not renew their participation.

CSTO allies conduct joint exercises and can provide military assistance upon request. For example, in 2022, CSTO forces assisted Kazakhstan in suppressing anti-government protests. However, the CSTO did not assist Armenia during the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War in 2022; moreover, as Pashinyan stated, two member countries of the organization were on Azerbaijan's side.

In February 2022, Armenia suspended its participation in the CSTO and currently threatens to withdraw from the organization altogether.

Response of Belarus

The dispute between Yerevan and Minsk didn't come to an end following Pashinyan's statement. Today, the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the recall of its ambassador from Armenia.

"If someone decided to divert attention from internal problems by the image of an external enemy, it is a very shortsighted position. It is important to understand that Armenia and Belarus are connected by long-standing, close, friendly relations and shared history, as well as mutually beneficial trade and close business contacts today. We do not intend to worsen these relations, no matter how much external players may push the Armenian leadership," stated the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

At the same time, the Belarusian ministry wished the Armenian people leaders who would genuinely think about the "future of the country." Interestingly, this happened against the backdrop of opposition protests in Yerevan.

Yesterday Pashinyan stated that Armenia would withdraw from the CSTO. Later, the country's Foreign Minister had to clarify this statement.

Sources:,, and the statement of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.