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Armenia and the United States have kicked off “Eagle Partner 2023” military exercises, a collaborative effort to enhance Armenian forces’ readiness for international peacekeeping missions.
In the framework of preparation for participation in international peacekeeping missions the #Armenia-#USA joint exercise "EAGLE PARTNER 2023" commenced on September 11 in "Zar" Training Center of the Peacekeeping Brigade of the Ministry of Defense.— Robert Ananyan (@robananyan) September 11, 2023
It's the first time that the… pic.twitter.com/GQQZO0P9vf
The exercise, taking place at the Zar and Armavir Training Areas near Yerevan until September 20, is envisioned as “a vital opportunity for our soldiers from our two nations to build new relationships at the tactical level and to increase interoperability for peacekeeping operations,” according to Colonel Martin O’Donnell, a spokesperson for the US command.
Participants include 85 US soldiers, featuring members from the Kansas National Guard and 175 Armenian personnel. The US assured that heavy weaponry would not be utilized during the exercise.
Meanwhile, this joint venture has strained the relationship between Armenia and Russia, a long-standing ally of Armenia and the leader of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to which Armenia belongs. Russian authorities have openly expressed dissatisfaction with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov anticipating “nothing good” from these drills and affirming Moscow’s intention to “monitor the situation.”
Additionally, the Russian Foreign Ministry denounced Yerevan’s “unfriendly steps,” including this cooperative military endeavor with the US, a sentiment echoed by the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
This comes as pre-existing tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region further amplifies tension in the region.