Armenia has supported its top ally Russia by voting at Thursday’s meeting of the UN General Assembly against a resolution reaffirming Ukraine’s territorial integrity and calling the referendum in Crimea that led to its annexation by Moscow illegal.
The document was approved by a vote of 100 to 11, with 58 nations abstaining. Among the countries that also voted against the resolution are such dictatorships as Belarus, Venezuela, Sudan, Syria, North Korea, Zimbabwe and Bolivia.
According to international news agencies, more countries than expected eventually voted in favor of the document that essentially labels Russia as an aggressor.
On Wednesday a source at the Armenian Foreign Ministry told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) that Armenia was likely to abstain.
But in an explanatory note before the vote Armenia’s Representative to the UN Karen Nazarian said: “Armenia has consistently and over years taken a principled position on the promotion of democracy, freedoms and rights, including and in particular the equal rights and self-determination of peoples as universal values and principles, embraced by this Assembly, based on the UN Charter.”
Meanwhile, many observers still consider Armenia’s vote at the UN to be a reflection of the South Caucasus nation’s growing dependence on Russia.
Armenia’s relations with Moscow -- and indeed Kyiv -- have been under particular scrutiny since Yerevan essentially abandoned hopes of an Association Agreement with the European Union by pledging in September to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
Ukraine’s government protested and withdrew its ambassador to Armenia after Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian effectively endorsed the March 16 referendum in Crimea, which has been occupied by Russian troops and pro-Moscow forces since late February.
Speaking in Yerevan today before the vote at the UN, a Ukrainian embassy official said that Kyiv would maintain diplomatic ties with Armenia no matter how Yerevan voted on Russia’s annexation of Crimea at the UN General Assembly’s session.
Igor Roman also told journalists that Ukraine’s ambassador to Armenia, Ivan Kukhta, who was recalled by Kyiv, will return to Yerevan next week to continue his duties.