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Armenia 'Committed To Further Integration' Within Eurasian Union

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) hosts Armenian counterpart Nikol Pashinian in Moscow on December 27.

Acting Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian says his country is determined to continue "integration" within the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EES).

"We are committed to further integration within the Eurasian Economic
Union and treat seriously our chairmanship in the EES," Pashinian said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on December 27.

"I am confident that after our chairmanship we will have even more effective integration in the union," Pashinian said, referring to Armenia's rotating presidency of the EES that begins on January 1.

The bloc, which brings together Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan, was created in 2015.

Putin praised bilateral relationship, including "growing trade that increased by nearly 30 percent" last year.

Putin said that Russia was Armenia's largest economic partner, accounting for some 25 percent of Armenia's foreign trade.

Pashinian, a former anticorruption journalist and opposition lawmaker, was elected prime minister in May after spearheading weeks of mass protests that forced his predecessor, long-entrenched leader Serzh Sarkisian, to resign.

Pashinian's My Step alliance won more than 70 percent of the vote in snap parliamentary elections on December 9.

Pashinian has vowed to maintain close relations with traditional ally Russia, while at the same time saying he would seek closer ties with the United States and the European Union.

The former Soviet country is highly dependent on Russia, which plays an influential role in its economy and has a military base in Armenia.

Based on reporting by TASS and RFE/RL's Armenian Service