We have ‘problems’ with Russia, says Russia’s ally Armenia

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Tuesday there were “problems” in his country’s relations with Russia, but no crisis, Russian news agencies reported.

Armenia and Russia are formal allies through a mutual self-defence treaty, but Yerevan has been disgruntled by Russia’s unwillingness to provide stronger support in its long-running conflict with Azerbaijan.

“There is no crisis in the relationship. We talk, discuss things, state that there are problems – which is objective,” Interfax quoted Pashinyan as telling a news conference.

In 2020 Russia deployed peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh – an Armenian-populated region of Azerbaijan that the two sides have contested for decades – to end weeks of fighting which saw thousands killed and Azerbaijan make significant territorial gains.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev was in Germany on Tuesday to meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz as Europe vies to take a larger role in settling the dispute between Baku and Yerevan. Pashinyan visited Berlin for a similar meeting earlier this month.

Following Pashinyan’s comments, Russia’s foreign ministry said it was planning a meeting with the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers in Moscow as Russia tries to maintain its role as the traditional regional power broker.

In the latest stand-off over Nagorno-Karabakh, Azeris claiming to be environmental protesters have been blocking the Lachin corridor – the only road route between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh – since December, triggering food and medicine shortages in the region. Yerevan says they are agitators backed by Azerbaijan, while Baku says they have legitimate grievances over illegal mining by Armenians.

The two sides have been locked in diplomacy over an attempt to broker a lasting peace settlement since Azerbaijan staged large-scale cross-border attacks inside Armenia last September that Yerevan described as unprovoked aggression.

Azerbaijan said its soldiers responded after Armenian sabotage units tried to mine its positions. More than 200 Armenian troops and around 80 Azerbaijanis were killed.

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