Russia’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, has accused Armenian leaders of exacerbating tensions in the region. However, he expressed hope that Armenia would continue to maintain close ties with Moscow following the recent controversy over Azerbaijan’s reclamation of the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.
Addressing the United Nations, Lavrov alleged that Western powers were working to undermine Russian influence, but he also noted, “unfortunately, the leadership of Armenia sometimes adds to the tensions itself.”
Russian peacekeepers were deployed in the wake of a previous round of conflict in 2020 to oversee a ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which had been controlled by ethnic Armenian separatists for many years.
Despite appeals from Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to the Kremlin for increased involvement, Azerbaijani forces quickly regained control of the mountainous territory earlier this week.
Protesters in Yerevan have demonstrated outside Russia’s embassy, with some Armenians accusing Moscow of being preoccupied with its conflict in Ukraine.
Lavrov highlighted comments from a senior Armenian politician who had suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin had handed Nagorno-Karabakh over to Azerbaijan after the 2020 conflict.
“We find such accusations absurd,” Lavrov remarked. “There are numerous politicians with similar views, but we are confident that the Armenian people remember their history.”
He expressed his belief that Armenians would continue to maintain strong ties with “Russia and other friendly states in the region, rather than those who intervene from abroad.”
Lavrov also referred to a declaration signed in 1991 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, which asserted the inviolability of the existing borders of newly independent countries that were formerly Soviet republics. According to Lavrov, this declaration clearly meant that Nagorno-Karabakh was part of Azerbaijan.