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Russia Concerned About Armenian Hostage Crisis


Uzbekistan -- Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) speaks with his spokesman Dmitry Peskov at a SCO summit in Tashkent, June 24, 2016

Uzbekistan -- Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) speaks with his spokesman Dmitry Peskov at a SCO summit in Tashkent, June 24, 2016

Russia is concerned about the weekend armed attack on a police station in Armenia but does not consider it a coup attempt, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary said on Monday.

Speaking to the RIA Novosti news agency, Dmitry Peskov said the Armenian authorities’ continuing standoff with the attackers and an even deadlier assault on a police station in Kazakhstan reported on Monday are very different from the failed military coup in Turkey.

“In one case, there was undoubtedly an attempt to stage a coup d’etat, which resulted in numerous casualties, while in the other, different criminal manifestations,” said Peskov.

“Certainly, the emergence of such turbulence near our borders is causing concern,” he added. “It certainly makes us very closely monitor and analyze the situation.”

A dozen or so armed men affiliated with a radical Armenian opposition group demanded President Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation after seizing a police compound in Yerevan and taking several police officers hostage on Sunday. They urged Armenians to join their “rebellion.” Few people took to the streets in support of it, however.

The Yerevan attack, which left one police officer dead and four others wounded, came amid Russia’s intensifying efforts to help end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict together with the United States and France. A prolonged standoff between the hostage takers and Armenian security forces could hamper the Russian push for a Karabakh peace.

Sarkisian travelled to Karabakh on Saturday for a second time in less than a month, a visit widely linked with the most recent Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks. He rushed back to Yerevan hours after the seizure of the police building.

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