The United States criticized Armenia on Wednesday for voting against a UN General Assembly resolution that condemned as illegal a Moscow-backed referendum that led to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
“The United States is disappointed by Armenia’s vote against the UN General Assembly resolution that condemned Crimea's annexation by Russia,” the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan said in written comments to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
“The United States strongly supported the UN General Assembly vote and Washington has been very clear on our position on this issue. We stand with Ukraine at every step in this process,” added the embassy.
Asked whether Yerevan’s stance damaged U.S.-Armenian relations, the U.S. mission said, “We continue to engage with Armenia on many issues.”
Armenia was one of only 11 countries, including Russia, North Korea and Syria, that voted against the March 27 resolution drafted by Ukraine and backed by 99 other nations. The Armenian ambassador to the United Nations, Karen Nazarian, attributed the move to his country’s support of the principle of peoples’ self-determination.
President Serzh Sarkisian cited that principle when he phoned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to recognize the outcome of the March 16 referendum in Crimea. Sarkisian called the vote, which followed Russia’s military intervention in the Black Sea region, “yet another example of the realization of peoples’ right to self-determination.”
The Ukrainian government responded by recalling its ambassador in Yerevan and warned of serious damage to Ukrainian-Armenian relations. U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern likewise described Sarkisian’s move as “very unfortunate.”
Some Armenian opposition groups as well as many civic activists have denounced the Armenian vote against the non-binding UN resolution as a serious blow to Armenia’s international reputation. They believe that Yerevan should have abstained or not voted at all.