Russia on Thursday warned that a planned European Union mission to the Armenian border is fraught with confrontations in the already tense Caucasus region and accused the EU of attempting to push back Russian mediation efforts in an attempt to create its own—Western—foothold in the region.
The EU announced earlier this that it would deploy a civilian mission to the Armenian border for the next two years, claiming that it would bolster confidence-building and reduce tensions along the border with Azerbaijan. Despite its purported civilian nature, the EU mission will work as part of its Common Security and Defense Policy.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Russian foreign ministry said that the EU mission will not bring an “added value” to the region’s stability. In fact, Moscow said, the presence of EU representative can lead to “geopolitical confrontations.”
“If Brussels were sincerely interested in peace in the Transcaucasia, they would have coordinated the working conditions of their mission with Azerbaijan,” said the Russian foreign ministry statement.
“The European Union’s attempts to strengthen its positions in Armenia at any cost and push back Russia’s mediation efforts, may harm the fundamental interests of Armenians and Azerbaijanis in their efforts to return to the peaceful development of the region,” Moscow said.
“We are convinced that, in the foreseeable future, the key factor of stability and security in the region remains the Russian peacekeeping troops deployed in the region in accordance with the November 9, 2020 declaration of the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as the Russian border guards performing duties on the Armenian borders,” added the Russian foreign ministry, which also issued a nuanced threat, saying that the border guards will “respond” to the EU observers, depending of the situation “on the ground.”
Official Moscow called the EU “an appendage of the U.S. and NATO,” which through its mission to Armenia wants to sow confrontation in the CIS zone
The Russian foreign ministry also emphasized the possibility deploying a mission to the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan by the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
Moscow also tacitly criticized Armenia for choosing the EU without completing its obligations as a CSTO member-state.
“If our Armenian allies are interested in using the potential of the CSTO, then its mission can be operationally deployed to Armenia,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, reiterating its position that strictly adhering to the provisions of agreements signed by the leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan, was to most stable basis for a lasting settlement between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The first of those agreements, which were approved by Armenia, as well as Russia and Azerbaijan, stipulates the unimpeded access to the Lachin Corridor in Artsakh. For more than six week now, Azerbaijani have been blockading that road and effectively all of Artsakh, in potential violation of the November 9, 2020 agreement.