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Russian, Armenian Defense Chiefs Again Discuss Border Crisis


Armenia - Armenian soldiers take up positions on the border with Azerbaijan, May 17, 2021.

Defense Minister Vagharshak Harutiunian warned of “unpredictable consequences” of Armenia’s border dispute with Azerbaijan when he again discussed it with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on Monday.

The two men spoke by phone for the second time in five days amid a continuing standoff between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces deployed on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, Harutiunian told Shoigu that most of the Azerbaijani troops that crossed into Armenia’s border areas last week have still not pulled back in breach of an “agreement” brokered by the Russian military.

“Vagharshak Harutiunian found the infringements of Armenia’s internationally recognized territory inadmissible, emphasizing that further developments of the situation could lead to unpredictable consequences,” the ministry said in a statement.

Shoigu assured Harutiunian that Moscow “will make all necessary efforts to resolve the existing situation peacefully,” added the statement.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported no details of the phone call.

Russian military officials have been involved in Armenian-Azerbaijani talks held on the border in recent days. No agreements have been officially announced as a result of those talks so far.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seemed to downplay the gravity of the border standoff which Yerevan says could reignite the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“There have been no gunshots, no clashes there,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow. “They sat down and started calmly talking about how to de-escalation that situation. They asked us for assistance and our military officials provided such assistance. An agreement was reached.”

“I see no reason to whip up emotions on this issue which is not ordinary but can be settled easily,” he said, adding that Moscow is ready to help Armenia and Azerbaijan demarcate their border.

Late last week Armenia formally asked the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to help it deal with the Azerbaijani incursions and restore its territorial integrity. It also requested separate military aid from Russia, citing bilateral defense agreements.

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