Russian FM: Putin was surprised by Pashinyan’s decision to recognize Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan 

March 29 2024, 15:35


The situation in Armenia is not encouraging, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Izvestia newspaper.

“The Armenian authorities, under far-fetched pretexts, distorting the history of the past three years, deliberately ruin relations with Russia, defame our soldiers who serve at the 102nd military base, our border guards, and the CSTO in general,” he said.

The authorities never mention that it was the CSTO that repeatedly defended Armenia’s interests in challenging situations and that it was ready to send its peacekeeping mission to the republic in 2021 to ease the tension in Armenia’s relations with Azerbaijan, Lavrov added.

“Moreover, the mandate of the mission was fully agreed upon at the ministerial meeting in Yerevan in the fall of 2021. We sat until nightfall; everything was approved, and in the morning, when the presidents and prime ministers had already met, Mr. Pashinyan said that there was no consensus. A few days later, he summoned the similar EU peacekeeping mission to Armenia, promising Azerbaijan that it would only be for 2 months, but 2 months later, ignoring Baku, the EU expanded this mission. Now more servicemen from Norway, Canada, and the United States are being sent there, turning the EU mission into a mission of the North Atlantic Alliance. So, the whole history of the last few years has been distorted by Mr. Pashinyan, his staff, and the leaders of the Armenian Parliament.

You know, when Pashinyan was in opposition and was leading the movement he created, which, everyone knew, was connected with the Soros Foundation, his movement’s slogan was ‘Exit’. Exit from the CSTO and the EAEU. Under this slogan, he brought crowds to the streets, demanded the election of the prime minister—they have elections in parliament—and at the same time said that if these elections end with him not being elected, he will raise the people. Well, democracy in its highest manifestation.

After he became prime minister, I remember perfectly well that Vladimir Putin met with him several times and stressed in every possible way that we would be guided not by some previous experience but by how exactly the Armenian leadership would build relations with Russia. In response, Pashinyan said that both the CSTO and the EAEU are organizations that are fundamental for Armenia, for the development of its economy, and for preventing its isolation in the South Caucasus. It was in this direction that relations developed all the years until 2020, when the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia broke out. Then Pashinyan turned to Putin, both as Russia’s ally and as a CSTO member. And you know how our president literally worked tirelessly at night with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to stop this war.

Then there were trilateral agreements on the border delimitation, the resumption of economic ties, the unblocking of transport communications, the normalization of relations in general, including the signing of a peace treaty—all this was agreed upon with our active participation,” Lavrov said.

At the same time, according to him, “the EU was dragging Armenians and Azerbaijanis to its side, and Pashinyan was the main supporter of the idea to work on the EU and the United States platforms. They went there on a regular basis, to the detriment of those meetings that were planned on the territory of Russia”.

“But when in Prague in 2022, at the so-called summit of the European Political Community, which is also Macron’s ‘invention’, they signed a document with President Aliyev, in the presence of European Council President Charles Michel, that Karabakh is Azerbaijan, no one informed us. Putin then told Pashinyan at a regular meeting: ‘We were surprised that you decided that’. There were no explanations, because Pashinyan always asked us not to forget that, in parallel with the efforts of the last three years, the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh should be somehow resolved, and we have been doing this.

But when he himself signed a document saying that this territory was part of Azerbaijan, the issue of status disappeared. And when people began to leave Karabakh, Pashinyan asked Vladimir Putin why he had abandoned the Karabakh people. Excuse me, but for God’s sake, it was you who decided that they were not citizens or claimed some kind of citizenship of Azerbaijan.

You know, I also talked with Nikol Pashinyan when I went to Yerevan, and it seemed to me that he still understood the benefits for Armenia from continuing allied relations with Russia and from cooperation within the CSTO and the EAEU. But now Armenian officials in both the Security Council and the parliament are directly saying that they need to rely more on the EU and that the CSTO allegedly does not fulfill its obligations to the republic. That is, in fact, the circle is complete, and the Armenian leadership begins to express ideas similar to those with which Pashinyan formed his ‘Exit’ movement,” Lavrov stressed.