YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)—Russia accused Armenia on Thursday of continuing to ruin Russian-Armenian relations when it reacted to a senior Armenian official’s participation in multilateral peace talks initiated by Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, also charged that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s government is behind what she described as the “Russophobic” content of Armenian pro-government media.
Armen Grigoryan, the secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, was among representatives of more than 60 countries who gathered in Malta last week to discuss Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s plan to end the war with Russia. Grigorian also met with Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, on the sidelines of the two-day meeting condemned by Russia as a “blatantly anti-Russian event.”
Zakharova said Moscow views Grigoryan’s trip to Malta as a “demonstrative anti-Russian gesture of official Yerevan.” She linked it to Pashinyan’s October 6 conversation with Zelenskiy, which took place during a European summit in Spain, and his wife Anna Hakobian’s September visit to Kyiv.
“In Yerevan, I think, they should be aware that this is a demonstrative flirtation with those who aggressively oppose our country,” Zakharova told a news briefing. “It is regrettable that the current leadership of the republic is purposefully and persistently destroying our allied relations, which not so long ago it itself called the most important factor in the stability and prosperity of Armenia.”
Tensions between the two longtime allies rose further following Azerbaijan’s September 19-20 military offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh that forced its ethnic Armenian population to flee to Armenia. Pashinyan accused Russian peacekeepers of failing to protect the Karabakh Armenians against the “ethnic cleansing.”
In an October 17 speech at the European Parliament, Pashinyan also alleged that Moscow is using the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to try to oust him from power. A Russian official responded by the telling the official TASS news agency that the Armenian premier is “following in Zelenskiy’s footsteps” and helping the West “turn Armenia into another Ukraine.”
The Armenian Foreign Ministry handed the Russian ambassador in Yerevan a protest note on October 24 one day after Russia’s leading state broadcaster, Channel One, derided and lambasted Pashinyan during an hour-long program. For its part, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Armenian charge d’affaires the following day to condemn what it called anti-Russian propaganda spread by Armenian Public Television and other pro-government media outlets.
Zakharova claimed that what those outlets have been disseminating is “not just insults but undisguised Russophobia.”
“We do understand who is behind the funding of these [media] resources,” she said. “If they think over there that we don’t know who pays for it all, we know.”