Verdict – false information
Some Facebook pages are sharing the content that was published on clickbait sites, claiming that Russia is drawing back troops from Armenia. This information is false. Not only have the Russian troops not withdrawn but two more stations of the 102nd Russian military base have been established in Syunik Province.
The Headline Does Not Match the Content
More than a month ago, a piece of news began circulating in the Armenian media, claiming that Russian troops are withdrawing from the territory of Armenia. The reason for this withdrawal, as stated, was the forthcoming war. On the 10th of June, this news started circulating again, at an even faster rate and with a more sensational headline: “What a turn of events! Russia is drawing back troops from the RA…”
The headline seems to be describing something happening right at the moment; as if the Russian troops are currently in the process of withdrawing. But the content of the article does not support this immediate impression. The withdrawal of the Russian troops is, according to the body of the article, only an assumption made by a certain Hayk Martirosyan during a certain press conference. The article does not mention who Hayk Martirosyan is and at which conference he made this statement. We searched in the open sources and didn’t find any press conferences where anyone named Hayk Martirosyan had announced this. The information did not appear on any reliable platforms. The author of the article might be referring to the political scientist Hayk Martirosyan, who, however, told us in a conversation, that if he was being quoted in these posts, then this becomes a simple case of a lie since he had never expressed such opinions.
The author of the article states further, that they were unable to check the validity of Hayk Martirosyan’s statements, yet still found it necessary to share them with the readers.
Even the paraphrases from alleged Hayk Martirosyan’s statement show that it is not the immediate withdrawal of the Russian troops or military bases that he was foreseeing but rather that the Russian army is slowly retiring from the Armenian territory. The reason for this retreat, according to him, is the forthcoming war expected in the spring.
The Russian Troops Do Not Intend upon Withdrawing
The talks of the Russian troops withdrawing are not backed by evidence. More than a month has passed after the release of the information, however, no Russian troops have yet retreated. Moreover, on the 14th of April, the incumbent Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced in a National Assembly (NA) gathering that the axis of ensuring Armenia’s foreign security is the Armenian-Russian military alliance and that effective negotiations have been held with Russian colleagues about stationing a unit of the 102nd Russian military base in Syunik Province.
Later, on May 3rd, Pashinyan announced in the NA assembly again, this time confirming that two new stations of the Russian military base have already been deployed in Syunik.
During a conference organized on the 6th of May, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, emphasized the importance of the cooperation between Russian and Armenian nations in the military field, including the area of military engineering. He went on to say that the guarantee of the security in the Transcaucasian region is the operation of the 102nd Russian military base, as well as The United Group of Forces (a joint military unit between the Armenian and the Russian Armed Forces), and the presence of the Russian border guards in the territory of Armenia.
On the 24th of May, Lavrov highlighted in his lengthy interview that the Russian-Armenian relations have stood the test of time. The Minister said that he has no doubts that the bond between the two nations will continue to develop in mutual trust and both military and diplomatic alliances. He also assured that Russia is ever ready to stand by the Armenian people.
This article was produced in partnership with FactCheck and is part of Facebook’s Fact-checking Programme. Given the rating, Facebook may impose different restrictions – click here for full information. For information on issuing a correction or to dispute a rating, please see here.