By Emil Danielyan
The Armenian Foreign Ministry said on Friday a senior Ukrainian government official has refuted Azerbaijani press reports that quoted him as saying that Armenia must withdraw from occupied territories around Nagorno-Karabakh without any precondition.
The state secretary at the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Yuri Sergeyev, was cited as saying during a visit to Baku last week that the Armenians “must be made to return the occupied Azerbaijani lands” if they refuse to do so.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Sergeyev, responding to official Yerevan’s demands for an explanation, has stated that Azerbaijani media have “distorted” his comments. He assured Armenian Ambassador to Ukraine Hrach Silvanian this week that the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry will soon issue an official statement to that effect.
Ukraine has always avoided taking sides in the Karabakh conflict, with President Leonid Kuchma expressing hope for its quick resolution during a recent visit to Armenia.