The United States will conduct military drills with Armenia this month, an unexpected decision that has prompted Russia, a long-time supporter of Armenia and fellow member of the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), to express “concern.”
Drills will prepare forces for international peacekeeping operations, according to Yerevan, as relations with Moscow look to be deteriorating
In a recently published article from Newsweek, while the “Eagle Partner 2023” drill is expected to be small, it appears to be the latest step in a long-term process of Armenians moving away from Moscow’s influence due to the Kremlin’s inability to resolve the ongoing Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, the September 11-20 Eagle Partner 2023 exercise is intended to train its soldiers for involvement in international peacekeeping operations. It said that the emphasis will be on “operations to stabilize conflicting parties during peacekeeping missions.”
Russia expresses alarm as Armenia prepares to conduct exercises with US forces
In a recently published article from Aljazeera, according to a US military official, 85 American soldiers and 175 Armenians would participate. He added the Americans, who would include members of the Kansas National Guard, which has a 20-year training cooperation with Armenia, would be armed with rifles rather than heavy weapons.
It maintains a peacekeeping force in the region to enforce an agreement that ended a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2020, the second such conflict since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.