Russian Minister accuses NATO, EU of stoking tensions in Caucasus to confront Moscow

Speaking at a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) defence ministers in Almaty, Russian Defence Minister Andrey Belousov claimed the policies of the U.S.-led NATO alliance and EU were destabilizing countries like Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Russia has accused NATO and the European Union of deliberately fueling instability and tensions in the Caucasus region as part of a broader confrontation aimed at undermining Moscow’s interests and influence.

Speaking at a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) defence ministers in Almaty, Russian Defence Minister Andrey Belousov claimed the policies of the U.S.-led NATO alliance and EU were destabilizing countries like Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

He alleged that NATO members were sponsoring protests in Georgia and forcing the former Soviet republic to take active anti-Russian measures in order to expand the alliance’s positions in the strategic Caucasus region near the Caspian Sea.

Belousov also accused the West of aggressively interfering in the long-simmering conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Of particular concern, the Russian minister said, were purported U.S. and European plans to pull Moscow’s Armenian allies further into their spheres of influence under the pretext of efforts to enhance security.

The fiery remarks point to Russia’s deep suspicions that the West is deliberately stoking unrest across the former Soviet space as part of a broader proxy campaign to subvert Moscow’s power in the region.

They also reflect the Kremlin’s simmering anger over the rapid expansion of U.S. and NATO military support for Ukraine in its war with Russia. Ukrainian strikes into Russian territory near the Kharkiv region using U.S.-supplied weapons were only recently greenlighted by President Biden.

By accusing NATO of provocative acts stretching into the Caucasus, Belousov appears aimed at rallying Russia’s CSTO allies like Armenia against the West even as the alliance struggles with acute economic and political strains in the wake of Moscow’s Ukraine invasion.