Official Yerevan intends to do business with Ukraine’s interim government formed after the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich, a senior representative of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) said on Thursday.
“We respect the decisions and choices of the Ukrainian people. I think that the warm atmosphere that has always existed in our dealings with the people and governments of Ukraine will continue,” said Hovannes Sahakian, a senior HHK lawmaker.
“We are ready to keep working like partners,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am), commenting on Armenia’s cautious reaction to the dramatic regime change in Kiev that followed deadly clashes between security forces and anti-Yanukovich protesters.
Asked whether the Armenian government is seeking the kind of relationship with Ukraine’s new leadership which it has had with Yanukovich, Sahakian said, “For us individuals do not matter. What matters to us is having businesslike and good relations.”
Even so, the Armenian government remained in no rush to officially recognize the new pro-Western government in Kiev, clearly mindful of Russia’s very negative reaction to the three-month street protests that toppled Yanukovich. Asked about the possibility of such recognition, Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan said only that Yerevan hopes for a peaceful solution to the eastern European country’s worst political crisis.
Balayan also stressed that the Armenian ambassador to Ukraine, Andranik Manukian, remains in Kiev and is “closely monitoring” developments going on there.
The government’s cautious stance was echoed by representatives of some opposition groups. Levon Zurabian, the parliamentary leader of the Armenian National Congress (HAK), described the recent events in Ukraine as a “revolution” and condemned the Yanukovich government’s “inhuman resistance” to the protesters. Still, Zurabian declined to comment further, saying that the situation in the country remains extremely volatile.
Naira Zohrabian, a senior member of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), likewise sounded a note of caution. But she also said that the Ukrainian uprising should show the Armenian authorities “what happens when a government doesn’t reckon with the people’s views.”
Only one opposition party, Zharangutyun (Heritage), explicitly welcomed the regime change and called for its immediate recognition by Armenia. Stepan Safarian, a leading Zharangutyun member, accused the government of being too scared of Russia to do that.