US Warns Armenia, Russia Fires Back

US, Russia rift reaches Yerevan


YEREVAN—After the US Embassy in Armenia issued a terse warning to Armenian businesses about the consequences of doing business with Russia in light of the most recent Western sanctions, the Russian Embassy fired back accusing the US of “threatening” Armenia.

“We encourage all countries and their nationals to consider the reputational risk of doing business with sanctioned individuals and entities and cease business dealings inconsistent with the sanctions that we and others have imposed,” the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan said on Thursday.

“The U.S. Embassy in Armenia, like other U.S. embassies around the globe, distributed information about these latest sanctions to Government of Armenia representatives as well as to local business organizations,” it added a statement to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

The Russian Embassy was quick to respond and accuse the US of using “thinly veiled threats” against the Armenian government and its business community.

“It is not within diplomatic norms to dictate to a host country’s authorities with whom and how they should maintain ties, especially using suggestive threats against a sovereign state. We expect that the business community of Armenia is also able to independently conduct its business and does not need any and does not need any pressure,” said the Russian Embassy statement.

“We are concerned about the American attempts to complicate the activities of Russian business in Armenia. All the Russian companies in Armenia, including VTB Bank (Armenia) and Areximbank-Gazprombank Group are under the jurisdiction of Armenia, operate within the limits of Armenia’s legislation, obtain profit and pay taxes in Armenia and secure the employment of the major part of Armenia’s population,” said the Russian Embassy

“The calls to stop dealings with the Russian companies disavow the U.S. representatives’ hypocritical statements about their willingness to contribute to Armenia’s economic development. One also definitely observes obvious elements of dishonest trade and economic competition in the US’s actions,” added the Russian Embassy.

This brings Armenia front and center in the mounting tensions between the US and Russia following the developments in Ukraine, which were compounded with the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine. The US and Ukrainian officials are squarely blaming Moscow for the incident.

VTB Bank and Gazprom were among companies named in the heightened sanctions announced this week by Europe and the US. The companies operate in Armenia under subsidiaries that control a significant portion of Armenia’s infrastructure. The sanctions also include the Russian oil company Rosneft, which has recently committed to a $400 million investment to rebuild the malfunctioning Nairit Rubber plant.

According to RFE/RL, Armenian government officials did not comment on the US Embassy statement.

On Wednesday, however, the VTB Bank-(Armenia) issued a statement saying the Western sanctions would not impact its business in Armenia.

The Armenia-based bank said in a statement that it will continue providing the full range of services and respecting its obligations in all currencies, with which it works.

“In connection with the U.S. sanctions announced against a number of Russian banks, including VTB, we inform that VTB Bank (Armenia) operates in a normal mode providing the full range of services regarding deposit and loan contracts, money transfer operations and payments made by use of bank cards, ” VTB Bank (Armenia) said.

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46 Comments

  1. dvo said:

    Well both countries are not such great and trusty, anyway Russia offer Armenia way more then US. thats a fact.

    Russia could start by halting the arms to Azerbaijan and give Armenia some new modern military weapons to defend out selfs

    • bigmoustache said:

      if only we would bend over and submit to them.
      is that the type of person you are? personally I take great offence at someone trying to strong arm my people. I have too much pride as an Armenian.

  2. Hratch said:

    The only threat we’re under is the arming of Azerbaijan by Motherly Russia.

    • Sarkis said:

      This guy gets it. Threats by the US are extremely beneficial for Armenia, nearly as beneficial as the bombs for democracy the US delivered to Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and the Jihadi freedom fighters the US delivered to Syria. Everyone knows that the Azeri purchasing of weapons from Mother Russia is what threatens Armenia, especially in light of the fact that Russia delivers the same weapons for free to Armenia. US-armed, backed, trained, allied, funded, controlled, and incited NATO troops in Turkey merely add to Armenia’s democratic credibility and secure its future from those darn communist Ruskies and their homophobic, anti-abortion, Orthodox Christian President who also shoots puppies for sport… Flawless logic.

    • GeorgeMardig said:

      If Armenia stops flirting and playing games with the West, everything will be allright, people should understand that Armenia is important to Russia geoploiticaly and can’t take chances bringing the West to it’s doors.

      • Sarkis said:

        GeorgeMardig, don’t worry too much because a very solid majority of Armenia’s population understands that the choice is between Russia on one side, and Turkey, Azerbaijan, America, and the EU on the other side.

        This so-called “hratch” thing, however, fails to qualify as “people”. He is most likely some Turkish immigrant living in LA with enough Armenian friends to have a basic familiarity with Armenia, but he never stops trying to push in his turkish propaganda.

        ps I enjoy your comments here, keep up the good work!

  3. Berge Jololian said:

    Does the US State Department have any sanctions on Azerbaijan’s purchase & trade with Russia which is worth $4 billion in weapons? This is the US SD way of putting pressure on Armenia to give up on Artsakh. Russia is just as bad. Russia and the US State Department deserve each other – they can both go to hell and take Azerbaijan with them.

  4. Hratch said:

    The firing back was intended more as a message to Armenia rather than the US. The US couldn’t care less of Russian threats. Having its economy, foreign policy and security surrendered to the Russians, Armenia is the one who is being threatened by the bear. Mother Russia will now use this excuse to further blackmail Armenia into its hegemonic plans. it won’t be a surprise if the plans include an oblast status for Armenia sometime in the future.

    • Sarkis said:

      That’s the stupidest argument you’ve made yet. The US threatened Armenia directly. Russia resaponded by reminding the world that Armenia is a sovereign nation, and no international bully can tell Armenia “don’t do business with the following countries that we Americans are trying to start a war with.”

      Stop fear-mongering with idiotic babble about “oblast status”, the only danger for Armenia is a US/Turkey/NATO/Azeri push into the Caucasus.

      Thankfully the Russian military will be stationed in Armenia at least until 2044, so the threats posed and issued by the US and Turkey are laughed off by Armenia.

      Armenia is fully protected by Russia, thank God, so no matter how hard you, Ara Manoogian and the Turks wish it, the US-backed Kessab Massacre will never be repeated on Armenian soil.

      • Armenian said:

        Here is another Armenian who has not learned any lessons from the genocide, particularly about the dangers of being too loyal to one group over another.

        • Sarkis said:

          The Armenian Genocide is central to my geopolitical calculations. That’s one of the many reasons I condemn attempts by the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide, namely the Turks, to meddle in Armenia’s affairs today. And that concern extends to the powers behind Turkey, namely the Americans, EU, Zionists, and Islamist terrorists.

          Your choice to engage in pretending that the Turks are not the allies and minions of NATO and the United States shows that you have a few lessons that you need to badly learn.

  5. Vigen said:

    Why doesn’t the US just tell armenia to go to hell. Instead of putting pressure on Turkey to open the border, the US has decided to join in efforts with turkey.

    I am wondering if the us encouraged azerbaijan to consider the reputational risk of doing business with sanctioned individuals and entities and cease business dealings with Russia is regard to their multi billion arms deals.

  6. Norin said:

    The US viper is showing its fangs. While Russia’s response is appropriate, the Armenian state department should also issue a formal response. If the US and some EU states decide upon themselves to set forth sanctions based on their version of the Ukranian reality, they have no right plain and simple to expect the rest of the globe to follow suit simply because “the US says so”.

    What happened to all the blather about “democracy” and such? How democratic of a nation can you be when you try to impose your geopolitical agenda on other third party nations that want nothing to do with your conflicts. While the US itself has become an internal police state, no one made it the “world police” yet. When it suits European and US interests smaller nations are expected to follow suit but when there are no gains to be made all the “rules” are thrown out the window by the EU/US viper’s nest.

    Armenia will follow whatever sanctions it seems fit. Maybe it’s time to down size the CIA office know as the US Embassy of Armenia a bit eh? What say you captain Americas on these forums, come now, speak up!!!

    • Raffi Balian said:

      Couldn’t have said it better. Thanks Norin.

      The west wants to monopolize world economy – and the profit will go to a minority of capitalist oligarchs. This whole thing smells of war, and Armenia better not trust the west for protection.

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  8. Gurgen said:

    Why don’t they go tell the Azeris not to do multi-billion dollar military deals with Russia instead of picking on land-locked, blockaded Armenia. Good to be reminded frequently of who our real enemies are.

  9. Վասգէն said:

    Both Statments are threat. This is Double Jeopardy for Armenia, read between the lines

    “We encourage all countries and their nationals to consider the reputational risk of doing business with sanctioned individuals and entities and cease business dealings inconsistent with the sanctions that we and others have imposed,” the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan said on Thursday

    “It is not within diplomatic norms to dictate to a host country’s authorities with whom and how they should maintain ties, especially using suggestive threats against a sovereign state. We expect that the business community of Armenia is also able to independently conduct its business and does not need any and does not need any pressure,” said the Russian Embassy statement.

    When did we go wrong?

  10. James said:

    What right does the US have to scold Armenia in such a way? What benefits do they provide to feel that such condescension would tolerated?

  11. NK said:

    USA AND NATO AND BANKSTERS/GANGSTERS STOP BULLYING THE COUNTRIES AND THE WORLD
    PEOPLE OF THE WORLD DO NOT FALL FOR THIS AND FIGHT THE GLOBOLIS AND NEW WORLD ORDER AND LUCIFERIAN AGENDA

    GOD BLESS ARMENIANS AND GOOD PEOPLE AND GOD FEARING PEOPLE
    MAY THE LIGHT TRUTH AND FORCE OF GOD BE WITH GOOD PEOPLE OF THE PLANET

  12. Mabuballah said:

    Asbarez:
    Be specific. Does it compromise classified information law(s) to disclose the exact text of the communication referred to and its author(s)? If anyone would like to see the citizenry of the United States to give our State Department some real blow-back, please arm us with specifics. Also, disclosure of the names of members of Congress (like Ted Poe of TX) who have levelled threats (via US policy) toward Armenia would also be helpful. Thankyou.

  13. zarkim said:

    US Administration and allies are responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Syria, Iraq, Libya, etc..
    .
    US has cooperated with terrorists and armed them and have encouraged Turkey to create ISIS and Al-Qaeda terrorist groups to kill, still oil/gas and money from Iraq and Syria.
    .
    Russia’s act in Ukraine is a child’s play comparing to what US Administration have done in Middle East. US are now EXPORTING suicide bombers to the world. They are leading the world towards WWIII.
    .
    US should back off from Syria and call back all their DOGS to the base before dedicating terms…
    .
    Iran Air Flight 655 was an Iran Air civilian passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai that was shot down by the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes on 3 July 1988. All 290 on board, including 66 children and 16 crew, died.
    .
    May be we should organise a special sanction for the US and their allies.
    .
    God bless America (World’s Police)

  14. A.N. said:

    American notice has been issued to Armenian busineses, why should Russian embassy answer the warning.
    That shows Armenia is run by Russians than Armenians. A.N.

  15. Dr.Hermon Mihranian said:

    The US is going too far, how come they threaten Armenia.

  16. GeorgeMardig said:

    As usual US’ hypocritical statements don’t bring anything new, while Turkey was dealing with Iran against the will and sanctions of the West, they not only looked the other side, the US invited Erdogan to visit Washington, and to please Turkey Obama kept denying the Armenian Genocide. what a shame the US has become a lion whos attacks little rabits, instead of going after the big guys namely Russia and China.

  17. Lus said:

    The US meddling again and again in other countries’ internal affaires… I expect Armenia integrate fully as soon as possible in the CU…

  18. Charlie said:

    First of all, the US imposed sanctions against Russia are baseless and unjust. The US policies are creating regional tension and endangering world peace.
    Second, Armenia has had a long and historic relationships with Russia and due to it’s unique geopolitical situation it is feasible for Armenia to do business with Russia.
    Third, Armenia is a peaceful, independent and free country. and it can do what’s in her best interest while maintaining normal relations with all other countries without being threatened or pushed to take sides.
    The people of Armenia are proud, intelligent and very patriotic. They suffered a lot and they aspire for justice first and peace with neighbors. They have to feel secure in their own country and with the rate of aggression and injustice that’s prevailing the world arena nowadays it becomes crucial to have a strong ally to achieve that security need. Russia has been providing security for Armenia and it’s not an ally of Turkey, who continues to deny its murderous past and is capable of more aggression and thanks to the US for being a strong ally to Turkey and support her denial.
    Many years ago, the UN and the world sanctioned the apartheid regime of South Africa. The US and Israel ignored the world and did business with the Apartheid Regime of South Africa.
    Please,leave Armenia out of your political games and instead of asserting your hegemony, try to promote peace and harmony among nations.
    As a

    • Garbis Korajian said:

      Charlie, I agree with you. Armenia has historic, economic and defense ties with Russia. At present, three million Armenians living in Russia making it the largest diaspora in the world. In short, Armenia is an independent country with fundamental rights to chose who it has to associate politically, economically and for that matter in every possible way it deems appropriate. Besides, for the forcible future, it is logical to assume that our interest are intertwined with the Russians, therefore it is not acceptable for the United States to dictate the activities and policy choices of smaller nations including Armenia. That said, it is also the responsibility of the Armenian Government to convey to the Americans how they fee about getting bullied and intimidated by a stronger nation.

  19. Babajanian said:

    They Playing a Stupid Game

    Գորտը մեծ պարոնն է տաքուկ ջրհորին,
    Դուրս ելավ, բաժինն է վիշապի փորին.
    Ւրար հետ սուտ կռվել են ձին ու ջորին,
    ..Ը մեջ է ընկել, խելքի՛ աշեցեք

  20. Sarkis said:

    Dear America, please stay out of Armenia. You’ve done enough damage to the region through your allies the Turks, and your local regime change clients in Yerevan who try to incite riots after every election cycle.

    Where are all those “patriots” who are always hysterically decrying the false claim that “Armenia is losing its sovereignty to Moscow?” I am confidant not a single voice in the so-called independent opposition and diaspora will raise a peep of protest against this American attack on Armenia’s sovereignty.

    • bigmoustache said:

      of course we would!! we LOVE Armenia and we look out for her no matter who is involved. our first love is Armenia. we will be the first to protest.
      but don’t be naïve. Russia IS trying to muscle itself in Armenian politics. they ARE trying to own Armenia by buying every last piece of energy infrastructure. and after buying 95% of our energy infrastructure, when we decide to sell ONE power plant to an American firm they go and sell Azerbaijan 200 tanks.
      the opposition is not a client of America.

      don’t be so supportive of Russia. once you’ve committed to being an ally of Russia, that’s it, if you try to change course they will make some excuse to invade your land. I can see the obvious games Russia likes to play. selling more guns to our enemy because they have the money, selling artsakh to the turks. why do russophiles always forget these things?

      • Armenian said:

        They don’t forget, they’re well aware of it, they support it because they have embraced Russia and Putin’s role as that of one that is going to protect them from a “New World Order” and “Zionism”. These people aren’t working for what’s in Armenia’s best interest, they are working to fight against an ideology and entity that can’t even be solidly verified as existing. They don’t live in this realm of reality, and even if the Russians come into Yerevan with their tanks, people like Sarkis will be the first to line up and greet them with flowers and kisses.

        • Sarkis said:

          More unfounded fear-mongering from the cyber warrior. Russia has never invaded Armenia. The Tsars liberated Armenia in the 1800s, and Russia was invited in 1991. Only the Jewish Bolshevik regime invaded Armenia, and those Semites hardly qualify as “Russian”. The threat of American tanks, missiles, airplanes, and weapons of mass destruction based in Turkish-occupied Armenian lands, however, remains the number one danger Armenia faces. Thank God Russia is back on its feet and is able to make sure the war criminals never dare think about attacking Armenia.

          I have been to the Russian base in Gyumri where Russian soldiers were manning guard towers facing off against the NATO-Turkey-US demons perched on the other side. The Russians and Armenians at the brace did not exchange “flowers and kisses”, just mutual respect among fraternal Orthodox nations with a shared history – something the imperialist, globalist slave-masters in the west could never comprehend.
          And in case you think “zionism doesn’t exist”, take a stroll through Gaza.

          • Armenian said:

            Your comment reeks of BS, unfortunately– why would they allow a civilian, let alone a tourist with a western passport, into a foreign military base?

            We’ll see how far Russia’s “mutual respect” for Armenia goes when they force us to give Karabagh to Azerbaijan. Even then you’ll be praising their decision, I’m sure.

      • Sarkis said:

        While I’m not happy to see Azerbaijan getting Russian or any other weapons, Azerbaijan has billions to waste on weapons and if not in Russia it will spend its money elsewhere.

        In defense of Russia, let me make three points:

        1) Unlike all other countries that supply weapons to Azerbaijan, Russia is the only one which supplies equally capable weapons, and in even larger quantities, to Armenia and FOR FREE. Thus Russia ensures the military balance never favors Azerbaijan. Israel, the US, Turkey, South Africa, Ukraine, Georgia and the EU states sell to Azerbaijan and at best they make worthless “statements” to appease Armenia. In an ironic way, Azerbaijan is using its dwindling petrodollars to subsidize the Russian weapons that Armenia receives at discounts or for free!

        2) Azerbaijan gets less capable export versions of Russian weapons at full retail price, while Armenia gets domestic, fully-capable Russian versions at discount prices or for free, and Armenia due to its CSTO and Customs Union membership can order directly from Rossoboronexport without requiring Russian government approval.

        3) Russia has troops on standby on the Azeri border, troops in Gyumri which have stated on numerous occasions recently that in case of an Azeri attack on Armenia that they will fight for the Armenian side, and Russia provides economic, diplomatic, political, military, technological, training, informational and various other types of support to Armenia, in fact Russia is currently helping Armenia launch a spy satellite that the Russians are designing and paying for so that Armenia can keep up with the billions Azerbaijan is spending on its own, western-designed, fully-paid for spy satellite. Russian diplomats for decades have stated that “there is no military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”. In other words, Russia pressures Azerbaijan to ensure that it does not launch any attacks against Armenia.
        Also, even the US buys Russian helicopters for use in Afghanistan, so let’s not get carried away mixing business and politics. Still, I’d like to see more Armenians active in promoting Armenian interests to the Kremlin, right now there are a large number of Armenians only interested in antagonizing and insulting Russia at every opportunity instead of properly exploiting our alliance.

    • Hratch said:

      Funny how you get out of hibernation the moment you hear the word ‘America’, but Mother Russia’s weapon sales to Azerbaijan goes completely unnoticed. Trolls must balance to sound credible.

  21. Sokimag said:

    While I don’t like a foreign country tell us what to do and what to not do, I think America warning Armenia to not get closer with Russia is a good thing. We already gave too much to Russia, it got to stop. Well done America to warn Armenia to not get closer to Russia than it already is.

    • Raffi Balian said:

      America would do better telling Israel to stop it’s genocidal war against the indigenous Palestinian people. In no modern war has there been such a disparity in the proportion of civilian massacres. American hypocrisy is astounding. They do support the two countries that are most notorious for violating human rights: Turkey and Israel. Ask Amnesty International. Stop being an apologist for American propaganda and its institutions, mainly the western media.

  22. bigmoustache said:

    our policy for centuries has been to have good relations with as many people possible. but this is a stupid short sighted statement. they can CLEARLY see our borders to the east and west are closed. iran in the south is under sanctions and now Russia. who do they expect us to trade with.
    instead of stupid comments like this, they should be telling the turks to open the border already. they should be calling out the turks for being the lying, untrustworthy people they are. or did Armenia already know before the signing of the protocols that turkey wasn’t going to ratify them…oh yeah

    • bigmoustache said:

      I meant America (already knew beforehand that turkey would not ratify the protocols)

  23. Armanen said:

    Instead of Washington telling NATO-member Ankara and Baku to stop their twenty years old economic blockade of Armenia, they are telling Yerevan to stop their cooperation with Armenia’s only ally – Russia. Instead of complaining about Baku’s multi-billion dollar arms purchases from Russia, Washington is complaining about Armenia’s, in comparison minuscule, dealings with Russia.

  24. Oaan said:

    Of course the USA would remind other countries that cooperating is in their best interests and the consequences for the future are implied. Remember who you are dealing with here. Busting these sanctions though will be a little more difficult then driving trucks to Iran.

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