The announcement about Armenia’s decision to join the Customs Union came as a surprise to EU officials, the EU Observer writes.
The EU has concluded negotiations on a political association and free trade pact with Armenia and expected to initial it at an EU summit with former Soviet states in Vilnius in November.
If Armenia does become a full member of the Russian-led customs bloc, along with Belarus and Kazakhstan, it cannot sign the EU pact at the same time.
EU diplomats in Yerevan held crisis meetings on Tuesday evening to get an insight into events.
A European Commission spokesman told the EU Observer: “We are consulting closely with our Armenian partners. When we have all the information, we will, of course, examine all the potential implications of what was announced today.”
The website notes that “Sargsyan’s u-turn was made in the context of tricky developments on Nagorno-Karabakh” and reminds that Russia is Armenia’s main security guarantor in its frozen conflict with Azerbaijan.
But in June this year Russia began delivery of some $1 billion of tanks, artillery and rocket launchers to Azerbaijan.
“Russia in recent weeks has also threatened Moldova and Ukraine, two other former Soviet states which are seeking deeper ties with the EU, the EU Observer writes,” the article reads.