CivilNet: The importance of bringing medical expertise from California to Armenia


02 Oct, 2022 07:10

Berj Akparian, Armenia’s Honorary Consul in Fresno, California, sat down with CivilNet to discuss the importance of medical missions that have been coming to Armenia from California since 2015. Mr. Akparian explained what American doctors do in Armenia, why they say the experience is so gratifying and how the Armenian community in Fresno, one of the oldest in the United States, has helped make this project a reality.

PM Pashinyan sends congratulatory message on the occasion of Independence Day of Cyprus



 15:47, 1 October 2022

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 1, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan sent a congratulatory message to the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, on the occasion of Independence Day. As ARMENPRESS was informed from the Office of the Prime Minister, the message reads as follows,

"Your Excellency,

I convey my warmest congratulations and best wishes on the Independence Day of the Republic of Cyprus. I wish prosperity, progress and peace to always accompany the fraternal people of Cyprus.

The Armenian-Cypriot interstate relations, anchored on strong traditional ties, historical, cultural and value system commonalities, are distinguished by their allied nature and willingness to show solidarity and support to each other.

I am confident that the fruitful and ever-developing cooperation between Armenia and Cyprus will continue to be strengthened and expanded at both bilateral and multilateral levels, including in the context of Armenia-EU cooperation and within the framework of the Armenia-Greece-Cyprus trilateral format."

Armenpress: Erdogan considers the meeting with Pashinyan possible

Erdogan considers the meeting with Pashinyan possible



 17:15, 1 October 2022

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 1, ARMENPRESS. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that he may meet Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Prague at the beginning of October, ARMENPRESS reports, the President of Turkey announced this while giving a speech in the parliament.

"It is possible that we will meet with Pashinyan in Prague," Erdogan said.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan did not rule out the possibility of meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Prague in an interview given by Public TV on September 30.

Armenian Security Council Secretary Says Held Meetings At CIA Headquarters

Sept 30 2022

YEREVAN (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 30th September, 2022) Secretary of the Armenian Security Council Armen Grigoryan said on Friday that he had held working meetings at the headquarters of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Grigoryan added that he visited the CIA as part of his visit to Washington.

Other details are not given.

On Thursday, Grigoryan discussed with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Laura Cooper the prospects for developing bilateral relations.

India’s ‘Pinaka Deal’ With Armenia to be Shot in Arm for Nation Amid Conflict With Azerbaijan | Explained

India – Sept 30 2022

By: News Desk

Edited By: Vidushi Sagar

While Armenia deals with a surge in violence with Azerbaijan in a new flare-up of tensions, India has decided to export missiles, rockets, and ammunition, including indigenous Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers, according to the Economic Times. The system was included in India’s export list, which was published in February 2021.

The Ministry of Defense authorised the export of weapons through a government-to-government channel, and the two countries signed agreements earlier this month to deliver weapons and ammunition to Armenia. While the value of the deal has not been disclosed, the report claims that armament worth $250 million will be sold in the coming months.

This revelation comes just days after India urged the “aggressor side" in new fighting along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border to “immediately cease hostilities," without naming Azerbaijan, reports said. On September 13, fighting erupted between the two sides over the lingering Nagorno-Karabakh region dispute.

About the Pinaka

The long-range artillery system developed indigenously and named after Lord Shiva’s bow, are used on the battlefield to attack adversary targets prior to close-quarter battles involving smaller-range artillery, armoured elements, and infantry, a report by the Indian Express says.

According to the report, the Pinaka, which is primarily a multi-barrel rocket system (MBRL), can launch a salvo of 12 rockets in 44 seconds. One Pinaka system battery consists of six launch vehicles, as well as loader systems, radar, and links to network-based systems and a command post. A single battery can neutralise a one-kilometer-by-one-kilometer area. As a key tactic of long-range artillery battle, launchers must’shoot and scoot’ to avoid becoming targets themselves, especially due to the back blast. As a result, the launcher vehicles must be extremely manoeuvrable.

When Did Its Development Begin?

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) began developing the Pinaka in the late 1980s as an alternative to the multi-barrel rocket launching systems of Russian manufacture, such as the ‘Grad,’ which are still in use, the report by Indian Express explains.

Following successful tests in the late 1990s, the Pinaka Mark-1 was successfully used on the battlefield during the Kargil War in 1999. Several regiments of the system subsequently emerged during the 2000s.

How is This Helpful for Armenia?

Azerbaijan has received backing from its traditional allies and supporters, Turkey and Israel. During the 2020 skirmish between the two combatants, Baku turned the tide in its favor by overwhelmingly deploying Turkish Bayraktar and Israeli kamikaze drones.

While Armenia has often turned to Russia for support, Moscow’s preoccupation with war against Ukraine has garnered limited assistance. In the face of rising hostilities and little military aid, a deal with India for rocket systems and another armament would prove to be a shot in the arm for a beleaguered Armenia, according to a report by the Eurasian Times.

What Else Will the Deal Get Armenia?

As part of the package agreement, Armenia will receive anti-tank missiles and a variety of ammunition from India in addition to the Pinaka. The full scope of these weapons has yet to be revealed. This is not the first time Armenia has received weapons from a South Asian country. In 2020, India defeated Russia and Poland in a $40 million defence agreement with Armenia that will provide it with four indigenous SWATHI counter-battery radars.

What’s the Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict?

A six-week war in 2020 claimed the lives of more than 6,500 troops from both sides and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire. Under the deal, Armenia ceded swathes of territory it had controlled for decades, and Moscow deployed about 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to oversee the fragile truce.

With Moscow increasingly isolated on the world stage following its February invasion of Ukraine, the United States and the European Union had taken a leading role in mediating the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalisation process.

Last week, the two countries’ foreign ministers met in New York for talks mediated by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. During EU-led negotiations in Brussels in April and May, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Pashinyan agreed to “advance discussions" on a future peace treaty.

They last met in Brussels on August 31, for talks mediated by European Council President Charles Michel. The talks also focus on border delimitation and the reopening of transport links. The issue of ensuring a land transport link between Turkic-speaking Azerbaijan and its ally Ankara via Armenian territory has emerged as the primary sticking point.

Azerbaijan insists on Yerevan renouncing its jurisdiction over the land corridor that should pass along Armenia’s border with Iran — a demand the Armenian government rejects as an affront to the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The ensuing conflict claimed around 30,000 lives.

With inputs from AFP

Israeli suicide drone HAROP to meet Indian Pinaka MRLS in Nagorno-Karabakh amid Armenia – Azerbaijan conflict

Sept 30 2022

India is preparing to supply Pinaka multiple launch rocket systems to Armenia, a nation grappling with Azerbaijan for ownership of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. I

India is preparing to supply Pinaka multiple launch rocket systems to Armenia, a nation grappling with Azerbaijan for ownership of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. On Tuesday, India urged that the “aggressor side” (in reference to Azerbaijan) “immediately halt hostilities” and that bilateral problems be handled via diplomacy and negotiation.

On September 13, when fighting between the two sides broke out, Azerbaijan gained backing from its old friends and backers, Turkey and Israel.

With Russia in no position to equip Armenia, which was traditionally one of its closest allies, India appears to have stepped in as the weapons supplier. Iran shares a border with Armenia and Azerbaijan, which complicates matters. The longstanding antagonist of Israel has warned Azerbaijan that its border with Armenia is a red line. The loss of its geographical border with Armenia may deprive Iran of its transit role linking Turkey or Nakhichevan to Azerbaijan and open the way for pan-Turkic ambitions and NATO’s expansion. This conflict brings together the weapon sales ambitions of India, Russia, Iran, Israel and Turkey.

The Economic Times newspaper says Yerevan spent $244.7 million on purchasing weapons from India. According to the publication, contracts for the supply of armaments were concluded in early September. In addition to Pinaka, the supply will also include anti-tank missiles and ammunition, but there are no details yet. The bulk of the weapons being supplied is expected to be of Soviet/Russian origin. This is not the first time Armenia has bought weapons from India; in 2020, Yerevan received four ground-based radar stations, Swathi Weapon Locating Radar (WLR), for detecting artillery positions.

In another article, the same newspaper wrote that Armenia had placed orders for four Pinaka MLRS batteries – two batteries to be delivered initially, and the balance two will be delivered later. One battery of the Pinaka system consists of six launch vehicles, loader systems, radar, and linkages to network-based devices, as well as a command post. In the near future, Amenia will also receive several new extended-range rockets and guided missiles for Pinaka developed for the Indian Army. Several Western Asian nations and Southeast Asian military forces wanting to improve their firepower are also interested in this Indian-developed technology.

Private companies are fulfilling the order as they have faster delivery times. Private sector companies partnering with the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) – Larsen & Toubro, Tata Defense, and Economic Explosives Limited – have established production lines to manufacture Pinaka systems, which are supplied in complete sets to the Indian armed forces. In addition to the four regiments of this MLRS that are now in service, these companies are fulfilling orders for six regimental Pinaka MLRS kits for the Indian Army. As part of the wider artillery modernization plans of the Indian Army, just 22 MLRS units are needed. The six regimental Pinaka MLRS kits bought by the Indian Army comprise 114 combat vehicle launchers, an automated fire control system, and 45 command posts, with more than 70% of the program’s components manufactured domestically. Indian businesses are well positioned to provide Pinaka systems to Armenia within a year due to the Army’s current order.

The Indian 214-mm all-weather MBRL Pinaka is designed to destroy enemy personnel, light armoured vehicles and enemy defences and the remote deployment of anti-personnel and anti-tank minefields. The development of this MLRS began in 1983, and in 1999 it was accepted by the Indian Army. It was upgraded in 2018, allowing it to fire precision munitions up to 70 kilometres away. In the basic version, the range was 40 kilometres.

The Pinaka MLRS kit includes a combat vehicle, a transport vehicle, a transport-loading vehicle and a command post vehicle. The artillery part of the system, located in the rear of the combat vehicle, is two packs of 6 tubular guides. In addition, the artillery unit features an electromechanical elevation and elevation guidance drive.

The combat vehicle is outfitted with fully-automated contemporary fire control systems, topographic references to the terrain, and infrared night vision sensors. A complete salvo from the MLRS takes about 48 seconds. The combat vehicle is recharged in 15 minutes with the aid of the transport-loading vehicle.

Pinaka MBRL is intended to launch many kinds of warheads and fuzes from a multi-tube launcher. There are HMX (high-explosive fragmentation), cluster munition–incendiary, anti-personnel, anti-tank, and mine-laying warheads. The two pods holding six rockets can neutralize about 700 x 500 m of area.

It is widely known that Israel supplies the Azerbaijani Army with more than 60 per cent of its weapons. On the other hand, Israel buys most of its oil from Azerbaijan. The widespread use of Israeli drones for various purposes has become one of the main reasons for the successful operations of the Azerbaijani Army against the Armenian Army.

Armenia has repeatedly protested to Israel over the supply of weapons to Azerbaijan, especially regarding the sale of strike-reconnaissance UAVs of the HAROP model, which India also uses.

IAI is the manufacturer of this drone. After locating its target, the drone transforms into a homing missile. This model is used to eliminate opposing air defences. The drone can patrol the region for an extended period and destroy ground targets.

Judging by the videos uploaded by Azerbaijanis, HAROP has dozens of destroyed enemy targets on its combat account, including armoured vehicles, anti-aircraft missile systems, enemy command and control centres, and storage sites for military equipment and ammunition.

Israeli “kamikaze drones”, which, upon detecting a target, attack it like a rocket, managed to suppress older S-300 batteries and Grad multiple launch rocket systems.

Drones operating at low altitudes became practically invulnerable to Armenian air defense systems. They penetrated deep into enemy territory, destroying strategic targets. In mountainous terrain, this mobility proved to be an important advantage.

In trying to detect strike drones, the Armenian military had to use radar. Their signal brought unmanned aircraft to air defense batteries, which were then destroyed.

If the conflict between the two sides resumes when Pinaka MBRL is in Armenian service, Israeli HAROP drones will face a worthy challenge. For records, neither Israeli HAROP drones nor Azerbaijani drones have been able to destroy Armenian Swati radars. 

Time for Armenia to Abandon the Sinking Russian Ship

Sept 30 2022

Armenia needs to urgently rethink its foreign policy or the country will end up on the wrong side of history. Dependent on Russia both defensively and economically, Yerevan must understand the world is facing for a second time since 1991 the disintegration of the Russian Empire and Moscow’s loss of control over Eurasia.

For three decades, Russia has demanded the West recognize the former Soviet world as its exclusive sphere of influence. The Kremlin manufactured frozen conflicts in Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Georgia and installed its own so-called “peacekeepers,” blocking UN involvement. NATO, EU, Turkey, and China were all viewed as hostile competitors for influence in the region.

The West now has an opportunity to expand its influence into the power vacuum that is emerging in Eurasia. Russia is now viewed regionally as a declining great power mortally wounded by military failures in Ukraine. Nowhere is this more evident than in Russia pulling its troops out of its bases throughout Eurasia and Syria.

Last week, on the side lines of the UN General Assembly in New York, the GUAM group of countries – Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova – signed a protocol that enables the establishment of a free trade area, another sign of Russia’s loosening grip over Eurasia. The recent Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting revealed Central Asia as China’s sphere of influence, as countries almost exclusively align behind Beijing’s diplomatic positions, with Russia as junior partner. Then on Monday, the leadership in Kazakhstan – where Russia intervened earlier this year to help put down a protest movement – explicitly stated it will not recognise Moscow’s pseudo referendums to annex of parts of Eastern Ukraine.

In Eurasia, only Armenia and Belarus remain firmly within Russia’s sphere of influence. But for how long.

Self-declared Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has nowhere else to go. Since the 2020 fraudulent presidential elections, his fate is tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia materially backed his brutal crackdown against protests over massive election fraud. Russia’s likely militarily defeat by Ukraine will lead to regime change in Belarus and Lukashenko’s replacement by democratic opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

Armenia has greater room for maneuver. Its leader Nikol Pashinyan came to power four years ago on the back of a bona fide popular uprising. He will not lose power if Putin is removed following Russia’s military defeat. Nevertheless, Yerevan has little time left to adjust its foreign policy to the reality of the sinking Russian ship.

Armenia can send a signal it understands the writing on the wall in three ways. The first would be to announce its intention to withdraw from the Russian-led security alliance, the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation), declaring it has proven unable to provide security assistance to Armenia. In a recent breakout of hostilities with neighbor Azerbaijan, Russia rejected Armenia’s calls for assistance.

Second, it should withdraw from the Eurasian Economic Union and advise the EU it is interested in signing an Association Agreement, obtaining an DCFTA (Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement) and securing a visa free regime – three compacts Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova have all achieved. Nearly a decade ago, Russia pressured Armenia and Ukraine to drop their planned Association Agreements with the EU and instead join the Eurasian Economic Union. This was a strategic mistake undertaken by the pro-Russian regime that ruled Armenia before the 2018 democratic revolution that brought Pashinyan to power.

Third, it should declare a readiness to join the GUAM free trade zone, a step that would economically integrate the entire Southern Caucasus.

There would be three benefits to readjusting Armenia’s foreign policy from its traditional pro-Russian uni-directional to multi-vectorism. The first would be a boon to Armenia’s economy and trade, benefiting from access to the EU, the biggest customs zone in the world with which the Eurasian Economic Union cannot compete. Armenia could look at how Ukraine successfully re-oriented its economy from Russia to the EU after the 2014 crisis, boosting its trade and investment.

Second, ending pro-Russian unilateralism would encourage the peace process between Armenia and its neighbours. Moscow has no interest in seeing a settlement to the three-decade frozen dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. A deal would remove the need for Russian peacekeepers in the region and diminish its projection of power. Shifting foreign policy would reinvigorate the parallel EU peace process and lead to a resolution.

The third would be the modernization of Armenia’s armed forces by greater interaction with NATO and Europe. Armenia’s reliance on outdated Soviet Russian military training and armaments have not served it well.

Three decades since the disintegration of the USSR, the Russian empire is again losing its control over Eurasia. The Kremlin must compete with the EU, Turkey, and China. Unlike Belarusian dictator Lukashenka, Armenia’s democratically elected leaders are not irrevocably tied to Moscow. Now is the time for Armenia’s leaders to abandon the Russian ship and reorient its foreign policy.


Taras Kuzio, Taras Kuzio is a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Science, National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, and author of Russian Nationalism and the Russian-Ukrainian War.

The views expressed in this article belong to the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect those of

An Ancient Hate: Why Armenia Will Never Know Peace From Surrounding Islam

Sept 30 2022

By RAYMOND IBRAHIM Published on 

In late 2020, war broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Two months later, peace was achieved on condition that the Christian nation cede its ancestral lands in Artsakh, internationally known as “Nagorno-Karabakh,” to its Muslim neighbor.

The peace bought by such Armenian appeasement has been fickle at best. Two weeks ago, Azerbaijan launched yet another attack on Armenia — one just as, if not more, savage than in 2020, as seen by one particularly grotesque atrocity.

The fact is, no amount of appeasement short of total capitulation will ever satisfy Armenia’s powerful Muslim neighbors, namely Azerbaijan and its “big brother,” Turkey.

Appropriating Nagorno-Karabakh was only the first step of a larger project. As Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, once openly proclaimed, “Yerevan [the capital of Armenia] is our historical land and we Azerbaijanis must return to these historical lands.” He has also referred to other ancient Armenian territories, including the Zangezur and Lake Sevan regions, as “our historic lands.” Taking over those territories “is our political and strategic goal,” Aliyev maintains, “and we need to work step-by-step to get closer to it.”

This unrelenting history of hate makes one thing perfectly clear: all modern day pretexts and “territorial disputes” aside, true and permanent peace between Armenia and its Muslim neighbors will only be achieved when the Christian nation has either been conquered or ceded itself into nonexistence.

To this, Tigran Balayan, spokesman for Armenia’s foreign ministry, said: “The statement about territorial claims of the president of Azerbaijan, a state appearing on the political map of the world only 100 years ago … yet again demonstrates the racist character of the ruling regime in Baku.”

This is a rather restrained and diplomatic way of saying that, not only are these claims absolutely false; they are — as most falsehoods nowadays tend to be — the exact inverse of the truth.

Armenia is one of the world’s oldest nations. Armenians founded Yerevan, their current capital, in 782 BC — exactly 2,700 years before Azerbaijan came into being in 1918. And yet, here is the president of Azerbaijan waging war because “Yerevan is our historical land and we Azerbaijanis must return to these historical lands.”

Armenia was also significantly bigger, encompassing even modern day Azerbaijan within its borders, over two thousand years ago. Then the Turks and their offshoots (e.g., Azeris) came riding in from the east, slaughtering, enslaving, terrorizing and stealing the lands of Armenians and other Christians of the region in the name of jihad.

Anyone who doubts this summation should consult the Chronicle of Matthew of Edessa (d.1144). According to this nearly thousand year old chronicle, which is near coterminous with the events it describes, it was only in 1019 that “the first appearance of the bloodthirsty beasts … the savage nation of infidels called Turks entered Armenia … and mercilessly slaughtered the Christian faithful with the sword.”

Three decades later the raids were virtually nonstop. In 1049, the founder of the Turkic Seljuk Empire himself, Sultan Tughril Bey (r. 1037–1063), reached the Armenian city of Arzden, west of Lake Van, and “put the whole town to the sword, causing severe slaughter, as many as one hundred and fifty thousand persons.”

Other contemporaries confirm the devastation visited upon Arzden. “Like famished dogs,” writes Aristakes (d.1080) an eye witness, the Turks “hurled themselves on our city, surrounded it and pushed inside, massacring the men and mowing everything down like reapers in the fields, making the city a desert. Without mercy, they incinerated those who had hidden themselves in houses and churches.”

Eleven years later, in 1060, the Turk’s laid siege to Sebastia (which, though now a Turkish city, was originally Armenian). Six hundred churches were destroyed, “many and innumerable people were burned [to death],” and countless women and children “were led into captivity.”

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Between 1064 and 1065, Tughril’s successor, Sultan Muhammad bin Dawud Chaghri — known to posterity as Alp Arslan, one of Turkey’s unsavory but national heroes — laid siege to Ani, then the capital of Armenia. The thunderous bombardment of Muhammad’s siege engines caused the entire city to quake, and Matthew describes countless terror-stricken families huddled together and weeping. Once inside, the Muslims “began to mercilessly slaughter the inhabitants of the entire city… and piling up their bodies one on top of the other…. Innumerable and countless boys with bright faces and pretty girls were carried off together with their mothers.”

Not only do several Christian sources document the sack of Armenia’s capital — one contemporary succinctly notes that Muhammad “rendered Ani a desert by massacres and fire” — but so do Muslim sources, often in apocalyptic terms: “I wanted to enter the city and see it with my own eyes,” one Arab explained. “I tried to find a street without having to walk over the corpses. But that was impossible.”

Such “was the beginning of the misfortunes of Armenia,” Matthew of Edessa concludes his account: “So, lend an ear to this melancholy recital.” This has proven to be an ominous remark, for the aforementioned history of blood and tears was, indeed, just “the beginning of the misfortunes of Armenia,” whose “melancholy recital” continues to this day.

But what was the reason the Turks invaded and so ruthlessly attacked Armenia? What “grievance” did they have? Simple: Armenia was Christian and the Turks were Muslim — and Islam makes all non-Muslims enemies to be put to the sword, until and unless they embrace Islam.

Incidentally, Islam’s animus for Christianity was on display then no less than now. Thus, during the aforementioned sack of Ani, a Muslim fighter climbed atop the city’s main cathedral “and pulled down the very heavy cross which was on the dome, throwing it to the ground,” wrote Matthew. Made of pure silver and the “size of a man” — and now symbolic of Islam’s might over Christianity — the broken crucifix was sent as a trophy to adorn a mosque in, ironically enough, modern-day Azerbaijan. Fast forward nearly a millennium to Azerbaijan’s war on Armenia in 2020, a Muslim fighter was videotaped triumphantly shouting “Allahu Akbar!” while standing atop an Armenian church chapel where the cross had been broken off.

Such is an idea of what Muslim Turks did to Christian Armenians — not during the Armenian Genocide of a century ago, when some 1.5 million Armenians were massacred and even more displaced — but one thousand years ago, when the Islamic conquest of Armenia first began.

This unrelenting history of hate makes one thing perfectly clear: all modern day pretexts and “territorial disputes” aside, true and permanent peace between Armenia and its Muslim neighbors will only be achieved when the Christian nation has either been conquered or ceded itself into nonexistence.

Nor would it be the first to do so. It is worth recalling that the heart of what is today called “the Muslim world” — the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) — was thoroughly Christian before the sword of Islam invaded. Bit by bit, century after century after the initial Muslim conquests and occupations, it lost its Christian identity, and became lost in the morass of Islam, so that few today even remember that Egypt, Iraq, Syria, etc., were among the first and oldest Christian nations.

Armenia — the first nation in the world to adopt Christianity — is a holdout, a thorn in Islam’s side, and, as such, can never know lasting peace from the Muslims surrounding it.


Note: Quotes from Matthew of Edessa were excerpted from the author’s book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War Between Islam and the West. Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

US sanctions China, Belarus & Armenia companies over Russia

Sept 30 2022

The Biden administration announced new economic sanctions against hundreds of Russian officials and entities on Friday following the Kremlin’s illegal annexation of four regions of Ukraine.

The newly sanctioned entities include shell companies formed specifically to evade previous sanctions on Russian military suppliers.

Among companies sanctioned, there are businesses operating out of China, Belarus and Armenia facilitating Russia’s bypassing sanctions.

The new designations also expand sanctions on top officials to include their wives and adult children.

Rush for the Border: Military-Age Russian Men Flee to Armenia to Escape Draft

Sept 29 2022

Chuck Holton

YEREVAN, ARMENIA – Airports across Russia are packed with young men looking for any way to escape a draft and being sent to Ukraine. Russia's failures in the war are being felt across the region, especially in Armenia, a Christian nation facing attacks yet again by its Muslim neighbors.

Russia's disastrous campaign in Ukraine is making waves back at home, and the recent call-up of another 300,000 troops has sparked a national rush for the exits, adding to the hundreds of thousands of mostly men who have already fled since the war began.

Russia has always been one of Armenia's most important allies, although that relationship has turned awkward since the invasion of Ukraine. Armenia is now being flooded daily by Russians in the thousands, entering on one-way tickets. CBN News spoke with some of them about the conflict earlier this year.

"They are against the war," a coffee shop waitress told us. "Everyone that I've been talking with they are saying they are against the war."

A Russian man who fled to Yerevan said, "Even if the war ends and Russia loses, I don't see myself living comfortably in a country where the country leader is almost like a Hitler. And the absolutely militaristic state of the government right now is awful."

There are Russians all over here in downtown Yerevan. Most of them are young professionals, people who do their work online and that's something that you really can't do in Russia right now because of the sanctions. The people we talked with were vehemently against this war, but most did not want to go on camera and talk about it. That says a lot about how much they fear their own government because many of them still have families back in Russia.

Political scientist Tigran Grigorian said, "Russia is a formal ally but is not capable or willing to protect Armenia from the Azerbaijani aggression and this is very dangerous because Azerbaijan is actually interested in gaining more from military pressure."

 As Russian power appears to crumble, many former Soviet countries are jockeying for stature and position to possibly benefit from a weaker Russia. And Armenia sits squarely in the middle of this political power play including Russia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey.

Azerbaijan recently launched multiple attacks on its neighbor, killing more than 200 Armenian military and civilians in the latest flare-up of an ongoing conflict over territory. When that happened, Armenia appealed to the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Russia's version of NATO, for help. But help did not arrive.  

"The world doesn't help us, but we shouldn't be offended. Because we have locked ourselves in the chains of the CSTO which sits on our neck. We have no right to ask for any help from the world. When we are free from this CSTO and from Russian shackle, then the entire world can step up on our side," said Margarita Velgoryan, a Russian protestor.

"We have all witnessed Russia's failures in Ukraine, and Russia's military capabilities have actually dwindled a lot, so Russia is not interested in confronting neither Azerbaijan nor turkey because it doesn't have capabilities," Grigorian said.

"I am a refugee from Russia, I was persecuted for political reasons," one man told us. "It turns out that I came here from war to war. I can't stay away, I want this to stop as soon as possible. The CSTO must do something or cease to exist."

On September 17, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to Armenia and condemned the Azeri aggression, which concerns more than one million Armenian-Americans living in her home state of California. 

"The US plays a stabilizing role, the US actually managed to broker a ceasefire on the 15th of September, and the state department has been very active with its communications with Baku and president Aliev, urging him not to escalate, urging him to disengage his forces from the sovereign territory of Armenia so the only hope is on the Americans to stop this from escalating into a full-scale war," Grigorian said.

"The European Union has decided to move from one aggressive dictator to another in terms of supplying its energy," he added.

 Armenians were very grateful for the attention from the west, with many calling for deeper cooperation. 

"If the United States is interested in having some sort of presence in the south Caucasus and I'm absolutely sure that Washington is interested. It should pressure both Ankara and Baku and push them towards a more constructive stance toward Armenia," said Grigorian.