He Hopes Azerbaijan Won’t Commit Ethnic Cleansing
President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Tuesday said there were no problems between he and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, but blamed the Armenian leader for the current Artsakh crisis.
Speaking at an economic forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Putin said confirmed that Pashinyan contacted him about the recent military build up along the Armenia and Azerbaijan border and Yerevan’s fears of renewed attacks against Armenia and Artsakh.
“He [Pashinyan] sent me a comprehensive letter… We are in contact with him. There are no problems with Armenia and Prime Minister Pashinyan. We are in constant contact with him,” Putin said.
However, he went to say that the actions taken by Pashinyan, especially Yerevan’s recognition of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity that gave Baku sovereignty over Artsakh had placed the entire situation in a different light. Putin went on to suggest that Pashinyan nixed the issue of the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh, which was to be determined in future, by recognizing Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and referencing the 1991 Alma Ata Treaty.
“Armenia basically recognized Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Karabakh. And in their statement in Prague, they recorded it on paper,” Putin said.
“The leadership of Armenia has publicly announced this, considering the entire territory that existed before 1991 within Azerbaijan SSR and noting the square kilometers of the territory, which also includes the territory of Karabakh. This happened and it was not our decision,” the Russian president added.
Putin argued that after Pashinyan’s statements on the recognition of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, Yerevan is looking to Moscow to resolve the humanitarian crisis.
“What can we say? There is nothing to say here if Armenia itself has recognized Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan,” asserted Putin, saying that Yerevan is currently focusing on the crisis that has arisen since the 2020 war and not looking at the entirety of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“The key aspect of the entire conflict was the status of Karabakh, and now that has been decided by Armenia itself. That’s the whole problem,” Putin said.
He said that Russia had proposed that Armenia would keep the entire Karabakh region, including Kelbajar and Lachin but claims that Armenia refused this proposal.
“We proposed our settlement options, this is a known fact,” Putin told the Eastern Economic Summit in Vladivostok on Tuesday.
“Armenia controlled seven regions, which it kept under its jurisdiction after the well-known Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict [of the 1990s]. We proposed to reach an agreement with Azerbaijan so that the two regions—Kelbajar and Lachin—as well as the entirety of Karabakh would actually remain under the jurisdiction of Armenia. But the leadership of Armenia did not agree to this—although we were trying to convince the leadership of Armenia for 10 or 15 years. Various options were floated, but in the end it all came down to this,” Putin explained.
The Russia president explained that Yerevan’s decisions have created situations that concern Moscow, especially the humanitarian crisis and the threat of ethnic cleansing by Azerbaijan.
“Of course, other issues have arise here, such as issues related to the humanitarian component and the mandate of our peacekeepers [in Nagorno-Karabakh]. The mandate is still in force, and the issues of that are humanitarian in nature, the prevention of ethnic cleansing, of course, have not gone away. I fully agree with this,” Putin acknowledged.
“I hope that the leadership of Azerbaijan is not interested in any kind of ethnic cleansing [in Nagorno-Karabakh] as they have always told us and continue to tell us,” Putin said, expressing hope that Baku is interested in resolving the situation.
“Now [Azerbaijani] President Aliyev tells me: ‘you know that Armenia has recognized Karabakh as ours, that the question of the status of Karabakh no longer exists, it has been resolved,” Putin added, saying that Yerevan’s approach has created new problems in the region.