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Ukraine Backs Azerbaijan Over Karabakh


U.S. -- Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (L) and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko (R) speak at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, April 1, 2016

U.S. -- Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (L) and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko (R) speak at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, April 1, 2016

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko reportedly backed on Friday a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that would restore Azerbaijan’s control over the Armenian-populated territory.

“Ukraine has a consistent and determined position on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the framework of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized borders and on the basis of respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he wrote in a letter to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev cited by the APA news agency.

“My country also highly appreciates Azerbaijan’s support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Poroshenko said, congratulating Aliyev on Azerbaijan’s Independence Day.

The United States, the European Union and Russia take a more neutral stance on the Karabakh dispute, saying that it should be settled on the basis of not only territorial integrity of states but also people’s right to self-determination. Over the past decade, the U.S., Russian and French mediators have put forward peace proposals calling for a future referendum in Karabakh that would determine the disputed region’s final status.

Ukraine’s position on Karabakh may have been strongly influenced by the continuing secessionist conflict in its Donbass region and Armenia’s reaction to Russia’s annexation in 2014 of another Ukrainian region, Crimea.

In March 2014, President Serzh Sarkisian welcomed a disputed referendum in Crimea that preceded the annexation. Armenia went on to vote against a pro-Ukrainian resolution on Crimea at the UN General Assembly. The Ukrainian government responded by recalling its ambassador in Yerevan.

Despite those pro-Russian moves, the Armenian government seems to have stopped short of formally recognizing Russian sovereignty over Crimea. Later in 2014, it apparently blocked direct flights between Crimea and Armenia planned by a Russian airline. And last September, Yerevan signaled opposition to the participation of Sergey Aksyonov, Crimea’s de facto leader, in a Russian-Armenian interregional forum held in the Armenian capital.

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