Armenia eyes to join Russia-led trade bloc
NOVO-OGARYOVO - ReutersArmenia will join a customs union led by its former Soviet master Russia, President Serzh Sarksyan said on late Sept. 3 after talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Much smaller than its energy-exporting neighbors, Armenia’s economy will not hugely increase the union’s overall trade figures when it joins Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in a bloc based on ties remaining from the former Soviet Union.
But Putin welcomed the move as a diplomatic victory at a time when he is struggling to bring former Soviet republics closer together and stop Ukraine from slipping into the orbit of the European Union.
“The Russian side supports the decision by Armenia to enter the customs union ... We will fully work for this to happen,” Putin said.
Yerevan’s membership still must be approved by the other union members.
Russia is the country’s largest trading partner, and their bilateral trade grew 22 percent to $1.2 billion last year. Russia is also the biggest foreign investor in Armenia with a total of $3 billion in investments.