Sarkisian Backs Crimean Referendum in Phone Call with Putin
YEREVAN—Revealing a more solid stance on the Ukranian crisis, Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian, in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, apparently recognized Crimea’s referendum to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.
The President’s press office announced that Sarkisian made the phone call on Wednesday to discuss the Ukrainian situation and “ways out of it.” In that light, the press statement said, the two presidents agreed that the Crimean referendum was “yet another realization of peoples’ right to self-determination.”
“The interlocutors also reaffirmed their belief in the importance of commitment to the norms and principles of international law and the UN charter,” the statement added.
The Russian side released a similar statement confirming the phone call but made no mention of Sarkisian’s endorsement of the Crimean referendum to join Russia.
Armenia has been careful not to take clear sides in the Ukrainian crisis given the West’s strong condemnation of Russia’s role and continuing actions in what is the biggest stand-off between the West and Russia since the Cold War.
But Sarkisian’s latest phone call is likely to draw negative reactions from Europe and the United States as it places Armenia squarely on the Russian side of the equation.
The two presidents also discussed the Karabakh conflict’s ongoing settlement process, according to the Armenian President’s press office. Sarkisian expressed his side’s readiness to work with the OSCE Minsk Group, the Co-Chairmen of which recently signaled another possible high level meeting between Sarkisian and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev.