Russian President Putin has met with Armenia’s new prime minister for the first time after the former protest leader Nikol Pashinyan was elected to the post. The meeting was held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi yesterday.
Pashinyan, who had previously reassured Russian diplomats he did not plan to break with Moscow, was unequivocal on Monday, telling Putin he wanted the two countries to remain firm allies, for Armenia to buy more Russian weapons and for them to forge closer political and trade ties. “We have things to discuss, but there are also things that do not need any discussion,” said Pashinyan.
“That is the strategic relationship of the alliance between Armenia and Russia… I can assure you that in Armenia there is a consensus, and nobody has ever doubted the importance of the strategic nature of Armenian-Russian relations.”
Pashinyan also said that he wanted to inject new energy into developing the already close ties between Moscow and Yerevan and thanked President Putin for the way the Russian leader had handled the Armenian street protests. Russia did not intervene militarily but was in close contact with Armenian politicians during the protests. “We really appreciate the balanced position which Russia adopted during our domestic crisis,” said Pashinyan. “I think it was a very constructive position.”
Putin told Pashinyan that Russia regarded Armenia as one of its closest allies in the region and wanted closer ties.