Russia’s rift with old ally Armenia deepens as Armenia wants its $400 million deposit for weapons back from Russia

Given the difficult social situation in Armenia, Armenia turned to Russia to return approximately $400 million paid to Moscow for weapons, the supply of which never began due to international sanctions and Ukraine war demands.

However, the Russian side refused to return the money, citing the fact that the contracts for the supply of weapons have not yet been terminated.

Russia failed to fulfil its commitment as Vladimir Putin invaded neighbor Ukraine and its local manufacturers cannot source raw materials from Europe.

The move comes in the wake of Azerbaijan’s lightning military offensive last month that allowed Baku to retake Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region controlled by ethnic Armenian leaders for the past three decades.

More than 100,000 ethnic Armenians fled the region to Armenia, putting pressure on authorities in Yerevan seeking to handle the flood.

Scholz, Macron, and Michel said they are prepared to provide additional humanitarian aid to Armenian and that they “remain committed to all efforts directed toward the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.”

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev called off his planned trip to Granada for meetings with Pashinian, complaining about the presence of France and demanding that close ally Turkey be allowed to participate in talks.

Baku on October 5 said it “stands ready for tripartite meetings in Brussels soon in the format of the European Union, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.”

Macron insisted that the positon of France — which has a large ethnic Armenian population itself — was correctly balanced, despite Baku’s claims that it favors Armenia.

“France has no problem with Azerbaijan, but Azerbaijan seems to have a problem with international law,” said Macron, who added, though, that sanctions against Baku at this time would be counterproductive.

Separately, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Azerbaijan’s takeover of Nagorno-Karabakh was “inevitable.”

“It was only a matter of time before Azerbaijan started to restore constitutional order there…. It was inevitable after [Armenia’s] recognition of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Karabakh,” Putin said.

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought two wars over Nagorno-Karabakh, which was a predominantly Armenian-populated mountainous enclave but internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

As part of efforts to reach an overall peace agreement in the region, Pashinian in recent months had said he was willing to recognize Karabakh’s status within Azerbaijan if Baku would guarantee the rights of ethnic Armenian living there.

Russia has long been a close ally of Armenia, but those ties have frayed over what Yerevan sees as a betrayal by the Kremlin after Russian peacekeepers failed to prevent Azerbaijan’s successful military drive against ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Back in the South Caucasus region, the defense ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other on October 5 of opening fire at the other’s positions.

Yerevan said Azerbaijani forces opened fire at a vehicle transporting food for personnel stationed at Armenian combat outposts in the eastern province of Gegharkunik.

Baku, in turn, said the Armenian side opened fire at Azerbaijani positions in the western district of Kalbacar. No casualties were reported from either side.

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