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Armenia Treads Carefully On Ukraine Crisis


Ukraine - A military vehicle drives on a road as smoke rises from a power plant after shelling outside the town of Schastia, near the city of Lugansk, February 22, 2022.

Armenia on Wednesday refrained from publicly siding with Russia in its deepening standoff with Ukraine and the West.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry indicated that Yerevan will not join Moscow in recognizing two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent republics.

“There is no such issue on the agenda,” the ministry spokesman, Vahan Hunanian, said in written comments.

“We certainly want the existing issues between the two friendly states to be resolved through diplomatic dialogue, negotiations, and in accordance with the norms and principles of international law and the UN Charter,” he said. “We hope that necessary steps will be taken towards reducing tension and resolving the situation peacefully.”

The Ukrainian charge d’affaires in Yerevan, Denis Avtonomov, welcomed this stance. “We are grateful,” Avtonomov told a news conference.

“Unfortunately, international law and the UN Charter have ceased to exist for the Russian Federation because so have also the [2014] Minsk agreements,” he said.

UKRAINE -- A tank drives along a street in the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, February 22, 2022
UKRAINE -- A tank drives along a street in the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, February 22, 2022

The diplomat referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognize the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic which has drawn strong condemnation from the United States and the European Union.

Putin spoke with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian hours before announcing the decision late on Monday. According to Pashinian’s press office, the two men discussed, among other things, “the current situation in Russian-Ukrainian relations.”

The Russian and Armenian foreign ministers also spoke about the Ukraine crisis in a phone call last week.

Armenia has for decades been Russia’s main regional ally. Its dependence on Moscow for defense and security has deepened further since the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Successive Ukrainian governments have supported a resolution of the Karabakh conflict based on Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.

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