Ukraine Recalls Ambassador to Armenia over Crimea Recognition

Ukrainian officers evacuate the Belbek Ukrainian military base, outside of Sevastopol in Crimea

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Ukraine recalled its ambassador to Armenia on Friday after warning of serious damage to bilateral ties and demanding an official Armenian explanation regarding President Serzh Sarkisian’s acceptance of a disputed referendum in Crimea that led to its annexation by Russia.

A spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Ambassador Ivan Kukhta was ordered to return home for consultations.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danilo Lubkivsky announced earlier in the day that the Armenian ambassador in Kiev, Andranik Manukian, has been twice summoned to the Ukrainian Foreign Minister and handed an official note.

“We appealed to Armenia to officially and publicly state that it does not recognize the annexation of Crimea,” Ukrainian news agencies quoted him as saying. “We expect such a response.”

“In case of statements or actions that we could interpret as unfriendly, there will be negative consequences for our bilateral relations,” Lubkivsky warned, according to the RBK-Ukraine news agency. He did not specify those consequences, saying only that the Ukrainian side will consider taking “a broad range of measures” against Yerevan.

Asked by RFE/RL’s Armenian service ( to comment on the development, Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan said, “As soon as we receive the Ukrainian side’s note, we will formulate our response and decide whether or not we will publicize that response.”

The Ukrainian protest stems from President Serzh Sarkisian’s remarks made during Wednesday’s phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Sarkisian was cited by his press office as saying that the weekend referendum on Crimea’s secession from Ukraine, condemned as illegal by the international community, was “yet another example of the realization of peoples’ right to self-determination through a free expression of will.”

Sarkisian Appeals to ‘Brotherly’ Ukraine

Sarkisian appealed to Ukrainians and described them as “brothers” of Armenia on Friday as he sought to minimize the fallout from his controversial decision to welcome Crimea’s secession from Ukraine.

However, Sarkisian stopped short of publicly explaining the implications and rationale of his move criticized by the United States.

“For centuries, we fought shoulder to shoulder against aggressors. We have thousands of glorious pages of common history. This has been the case and this will be the case,” he said in a speech during an awards ceremony held at the presidential palace in Yerevan.

“It happens so that in the heat of time and events, different phenomena are perceived in different ways,” continued Sarkisian. “But the great thing about time is that over time things clear up, misunderstandings and disagreements disappear and everything returns to normal. I want to repeat that the Ukrainians are our brothers.”

Sarkisian spoke after handing out annual Armenian presidential awards to dozens of artists, writers and scientists. Among them was supposed to be Olena Fetisova, the Ukrainian screenwriter, producer and co-director of a new feature film about the late Sergey Paradjanov, a renowned Soviet filmmaker of Armenian descent.

Fetisova decided at the last minute not to accept the award carrying a monetary prize of 5 million drams ($12,000) in protest against Sarkisian’s decision to accept the outcome of an internationally condemned referendum in Crimea that was followed by the region’s annexation by Russia. “I would like to kindly ask you to convey my part of the remuneration of the State Prize of Armenia to the Armenian orphans,” she said in an open letter to Sarkisian. “I am sure that Sergey Paradjanov would do the same.”

Fetisova defended the snub in a phone interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian service (, saying that Sarkisian’s stance amounts to an endorsement of Russian “aggression” against her country. “He backed the legitimacy of an illegal and thoroughly rigged referendum,” she said.

“I simply could not have come to Yerevan and thereby welcomed a situation in which my homeland is in danger and Armenia’s leadership unfortunately does not stand by my country,” added the Ukrainian filmmaker.

“I will pass the state award on to her through her colleagues and, in accordance with her wish, we will use its financial component for benevolent purposes,” Sarkisian said at the ceremony. “I understand Ms. Fetisova’s motives but want to appeal to the distinguished lady and the Ukrainian people by saying that we are brotherly peoples.”


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  1. Armenian said:

    Good job, idiot RA government! Keep making enemies where you don’t need them!

    Some Armenians are the best Russians a Russian could ever ask for.

  2. Armenian said:

    Looks like Azerbaijan just found another new best friend, and a partner in their hardliner stance against us.

    Everything and anything for Mother Russia!

  3. Josef said:

    Sarkisian is a puppet a stooge and has lost all respect from me! Lets see if Crimea will recognize Karabakh’s
    independence fs so I will take back my words !!

  4. sam said:

    i don’t know why armenia is recognizing crimea.did the russians recognized karabagh?we could do that favor if they did .they recognized abkhazia osetia and others ..and not karabagh. until when we will be their servants and obey their demands and get nothing in return .if we look back to our history they always stabbed us in back just like the french and the british did.Although we were very loyal friends with was a big mistake unless papa putin forced the son sergik to do so as usual.

  5. Hratch said:

    First ramification as a result of our stupidity. Let’s wait and see what more damage is awaiting us…..

  6. Armanen said:

    Good riddance! Armenia does not need ties with a dysfunctional pseudo-state.

  7. GB said:

    Ukraine lost all military strengths to help Axerbaijani dictatorial regime!

  8. Hay said:

    Should we demand an explanation from Ukraine why it hasn’t yet recognized the Armenian Genocide? Buzz off.

    • Vahagan said:

      Good point Hay! How many of these nations have recognised the Armenian genocide? Did Ukraine recognise Karapagh’s independence? The only loss Ukraine incurred was Crimea. They have a huge land, unlike Armenian, and am sure they will be fine. We cannot afford to lose Karapagh after all the bloodshed, not to mention we are surrounded by some unfriendly nations who, so far, have not recognised our plea.
      If we need to stick to papa Putin’s aprons, so be it.
      We cannot always be Vartan Mamigonian; we need sometimes to be Vasag Syouni.
      If this is the politics of the day, then so be it.
      Do you forget what Putin did to us the minute we were signing an agreement with the EU? He sold arms to Azerbaijan and virtually told us to get lost.
      We’ll have to wait and see what happens next.
      Let us keep calm and follow the events.

  9. GeorgeMardig said:

    Very simple, for Armenia Russia is more important than Ukraine, finally Armenians are getting it, for everybody it is Business as usual, ther’s NO such thing as values, rights, laws, overrides everyhing when it comes to Geopolitics.

    • Vahagan said:

      Agree very much.
      Gone are the days of emotional politics. Tivanakidootyun is Tivanakidootyun. Where our interest lies and who fulfils our interests is our friend. End of!

  10. Arn.Sweden. said:

    Yes ! – all prople of Slavic origin in central Europe are of Armenian origin

    Now by Western Hypocritical intervention,
    a just and according to international observers,
    a legal referendum is deemed illigal.

    In a Democracy evertthing is decided by Mayority votes.

    The Mayority voters in this referendum,
    a Mayority even of all legal entitled allowed voters,
    has decided to join Russia.t

    One only has to compere the US and Wests policy regarding former Yugoslavia,
    to their stance in Ukraine,
    and their hypocrisy and doubble standards are evident.


  11. Sokimag said:

    That was to be expected. Sarkisian really screwed things up. He should have been silent and not take any position. This president is unfit to rule over Armenia. Wake up Armenians. What does it have to take for you to understand and realise what is truly happening? There has to be some uprisings in Armenia so the current illegitimate government can be overthrew.

  12. Adnan said:

    What do you expect, Armenia is a Russian vassal country, whatever Russia does, Armenia listens.

  13. Shahen said:

    who cares….?

    The sell outs now own their government. Have fun Ukraine in the sinking ship, the so called EU/U.S alliance and turn away from your roots and history. You have proved what sell outs you are.

    • Armenian said:

      What’s funny is that we’re sinking as a result of our incompetence and idiotic insistence on doing everything in Russia’s favor. Check back in 30 years and we’ll see which of these will be the success story: Ukraine or Armenia.

      • Vahagan said:

        Perhaps you are right or….. wrong. Who knows? But for the here and now, our hands are tied. Do we really want a conflict and war with Azerbaijan to lose what we got through bloodshed? Do we want Turkey and Azerbaijan to suffocate us of all resources (as if they don’t already) and who do we rely on to come to our rescue? U.S.A.? Britain? Germany? the EU? Give me a break. When have the West’s fleet ever been willing to sail up the rocks and mountains of Armenia? Never!
        May be with Russia we can secure some stability and make something out of Karabagh and our immediate/long term destiny.
        You are forgetting Russia is still a super power and look what they did despite the opinion of the Western world.
        I am not saying it is perfect, but for NOW this is it. We are a dust particle compared to the other large nations of the, so we should be careful not lose that particle that we have acquired.
        Let us be pragmatists rather than our age old lamentation, Oh, why, and Oh why…

  14. Armenian said:

    What’s next? Recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia so that Georgia shuts down the border and isolates us even further? Why not? It’s what Russia would want, and technically that would be in Russia’s best interests– a more dependent and isolated Armenia is what it needs, and I see no reason why Putin can’t or won’t talk his pet Serjhik into doing it. Besides, if we don’t submit to its will, our “guardian” might sell some weapons to our enemy. God bless the Russo-Armenian relationship and protect it from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

    Oh no, I can already see a bunch of brain-dead Russophile Armenians lining up in support of that idea already.

  15. Hayk said:

    I think all this comments are useless cut of from reality.
    Basically it goes like this strong Russia strong Armenia.
    All this people who supports west are blind.
    I am amazed that you all don’t see what US government jointly with EU, Turkey,Qatar, Saudi Arabia did to Syria and now killing Armenians in Kasab.
    Shame to all this so called Armenins.