One of Russia’s longtime allies said it will arrest Putin if he goes there, leaving him a pariah in a region where he was once dominant

  • Armenia, a longtime Russia ally, has been increasingly distancing itself from Vladimir Putin. 
  • Its ruling party said that if Putin visited Armenia, he would get arrested, Moscow Times reported.
  • The party was referring to an international arrest warrant for Putin issued earlier this month.

Armenia, a longtime ally of Russia, said that Russian President Vladimir Putin would be arrested if he visited the country, according to local media.

In an interview with the news outlet Factor.am, Gagik Melkonyan, the deputy of the Armenian National Assembly — the country’s ruling party — said this week that if Putin were to travel there, “he should be arrested,” according to a translation by The Daily Beast.

“It is better for Putin to stay in his country,” Melkonyan said, according to the translation. “If we enter into these agreements, then we must fulfill our obligations. Let Russia solve its problems with Ukraine.”

A spokesperson for the Kremlin did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Armenia is among a growing group of countries that have said they would enforce an international warrant issued by the International Criminal Court earlier this month. The ICC accused Putin of ordering the abduction of children in occupied parts of Ukraine — which would be considered a war crime.

Germany, Ireland, Austria, and Croatia have already said they would enforce the warrant, while the UK and France welcomed ICC’s decision, but did not comment on whether they would commit to arresting the Russian leader. 

Despite being a signatory to the Rome Statute — the treaty that established the ICC — Russian ally Hungary said last week that they would not arrest Putin, Reuters reported. 

Melkonyan’s comments are yet another sign of tensions growing between Armenia and Russia.

Earlier this year, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that he had canceled joint military drills, calling them “inappropriate in the current situation,” the Associated Press reported.

In a Collective Security Treaty Organization summit last year, Putin was repeatedly snubbed by Pashinyan, including when the Armenian prime minister refused to be photographed in close proximity to him.

The CSTO is a Russian-dominated alliance of post-Soviet nations, which includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan

The fall-out is largely also the result of a domestic dispute. Pashinyan has previously accused Russian peacekeepers of failing to take a more active role around the disputed separatist region of Nagorno-Karabak. 

Nagorno-Karabakh has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces since a separatist war there ended in 1994. Azerbaijani activists have recently been blocking a free corridor linking Armenia to the region. 

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