More than 100 people gathered in the Armenian capital Yerevan on Sunday to demand that their country withdraw from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
This organization is a Russian-led military alliance that includes several former Soviet states, including Armenia.
Armenia’s neighbor Azerbaijan is not part of the organization.
Demonstrators claimed that the alliance was not enough to defend their country in the recent battle with Azerbaijan.And they called for Yerevan to draw closer to Western powers.
“America and Europe are our last hope,” said a woman who attended the protest.
“CSTO has become a useless organization for our state. It does nothing. It does not help.”
Another protester said, “The so-called CSTO is only there to protect Russia’s interests.
“This organization had to help Armenia during the war, but it didn’t help.”
The call came after fighting broke out on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan last week.
Shortly after midnight on September 13, Yerevan claimed that Baku had shelled six Armenian settlements within its borders and that the invasion was not provocative.
Baku denied the allegations, saying its forces were responding to an Armenian attempt to mine the Azeri positions.Yerevan also denied the accusations.
The CSTO said it was sending observers to the area in response to fighting that claimed the lives of more than 200 soldiers on both sides.
The two countries have fought two previous wars over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
In 2020, over 6,500 soldiers died in six weeks of war. More than 91,000 people were also forced to flee the territory to Armenia.
The latest protests came after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the country on a three-day trip. Pelosi is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Armenia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“Unlawful Attack on Armenia”
During her historic visit, she described the fighting as an illegal attack on Armenian territory by neighboring countries.
“On behalf of Congress, I strongly condemn these attacks that threaten the prospects for a much-needed peace deal,” Pelosi said at a news conference.
“Armenia is especially important to us because of our focus on security following the illegal and deadly attack on Armenian territory by Azerbaijan.”
Azerbaijan responded to accusations by calling it ‘unfair’ and ‘unacceptable’
“The baseless and unwarranted accusations leveled by Pelosi against Azerbaijan are unacceptable,” the country’s foreign ministry said.
“This is a serious blow to efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.”
Watch the Euronews report in the player above.