Apart from Lukashenka and Putin, no other leader of the other participating countries mentioned Ukraine in the televised part of the summit.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called “like-minded people” from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the anniversary summit of the CSTO. During the meeting, he spoke about the war in Ukraine, but found support only in Belarus.
This is reported The New York Times.
“In the gilded hall of the Kremlin, Putin held a summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which is NATO’s response. The CSTO celebrated the 30th anniversary of its founding, but what should have been a celebratory meeting quickly turned into a demonstration of Putin’s isolation even among Russia’s neighbors,” – writes NYT.
Putin’s actions in Ukraine were supported, it seems, only by the unrecognized President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. Speaking first in the televised part of the summit, Lukashenka criticized other members of the CSTO for insufficient support for Russia and Belarus in the face of Western sanctions.
He recalled that in January the CSTO sent forces to Kazakhstan to support the country’s government amid protests, but “left Russia alone during the war in Ukraine.”
“Are we now also bound by ties of solidarity and support? Maybe I’m wrong, but as recent events have shown, it seems that the answer is no,” he said, alluding to the Kazakh government’s recent refusal to help Russia circumvent sanctions.
During the March 2 UN vote condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Belarus was the only post-Soviet country to side with Russia.
“Look how monolithically the European Union votes and acts. If we are divided, we will simply be crushed and torn apart,” Lukashenka added.
The leaders of the other four CSTO members – Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan – did not even mention Ukraine in their televised speeches.
The publication notes that the Russian invasion of Ukraine put the CSTO member countries in a difficult position. All have close economic and military ties to Russia, but Putin’s invasion of sovereign Ukraine sets a precedent for countries seeking to diversify their foreign policy beyond Moscow.
“Putin, speaking at the summit, once again tried to justify his invasion by lying that “neo-Nazism has long reigned in Ukraine.” limit the escalation of their conflict with the West,” the newspaper writes.
Regarding the decision of Finland and Sweden to join NATO, Putin noted that Russia “has no problems with these states,” and NATO expansion at the expense of these two states “does not pose a direct threat to us.”
As UNIAN reported, on Monday, May 16, the first face-to-face summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, began in Moscow since 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the CSTO anniversary summit announced joint exercises. At the same time, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan criticized members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization due to the 2020 conflict with Azerbaijan. The politician called for synchronization of actions.