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Seda Hergnyan

Moscow Punishing Armenia Economically, Say Truckers Stuck at Lars Checkpoint

Armenian truckers now stuck at the Lars checkpoint on the Georgian-Russian border claim that Moscow is trying to economically punish Armenia for its recent overtures to the West.

Trucks exporting Armenian-made preserves, fruits and vegetables, flowers, fish and other food items to Russia have been stuck at Lars for five days, undergoing stricter than normal health and safety checks.

Rose Field is a company that exports greenhouse roses from Armenia to Russia. A company official argues that Moscow launched harsh checks to punish Yerevan for seeking Western options in the defense and security sectors.

"They are trying to oppress Armenia economically. The reason is that Armenia is changing its political trajectory,” the official told Hetq.

The only land road connecting Armenia to Russia, passes through the Georgian-Russian border through the Upper Lars checkpoint in North Ossetia.

The Armenian government says it’s aware of the situation, adding that truckers can contact the Armenian customs attaché at Lars for support. Exporters say they are unable to establish contact with the customs attaché.  

The Spinnaker Group shipping company currently has three trucks loaded with fruit, fish and meat products intended for the Russian market stuck at Lars. Company co-founder Norayr Gevorgyan does not know how long the trucks will remain there.

"The product has been sent for laboratory examination. There are no answers yet, but we are sure that, as in the case of others, as well as in our case, they will not allow the trucks to enter Russia. They issue a reply that the export of the product is prohibited. After that, there is nothing left to do, the product is returned," says   Gevorgyan.

He says some one hundred trucks are backed up at the Lars checkpoint and on the road to Lars.

Russia's share of Armenia's exports has increased significantly over the last two years. According to Armenia’s Statistical Committee, 51.7% of the goods exported from Armenia went to Russia in January-September of this year. In 2022, Russia's share was 40.4%.

The increase in the last two years is due to re-exports, but even before that, Russia was the largest export market of Armenia. Brandy, fruits, and vegetables, as well as food, fish, cheese and various products produced in Armenia are exported.



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