According to the Russian Embassy in Yerevan, Kopyrkin visited two Russian military outposts at local sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and spoke with Russian border guards serving there about their “day-to-day combat and training activities”.
The commander of the border guards deployed in the strategically important area briefed him on “the operational situation developing in this section of the Armenian border,” the embassy said in a statement released on Wednesday.
The statement said that at the entrance to Syunik’s administrative center Kapan Kopyrkin was greeted by unnamed officials from the municipal administration. It said they thanked Russia for its contribution to the region’s security and economic development.
Moscow deployed soldiers and border guards to Syunik during and after the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh to help the Armenian military defend the province against possible Azerbaijani attacks.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are to reopen their border to commercial and passenger traffic under the terms of a Russian-brokered ceasefire that stopped their six-week war in November 2020. The deal specifically commits Yerevan to opening rail and road links between Azerbaijan and its Nakhichevan exclave.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly claimed that it calls for an exterritorial land corridor that would pass through Syunik. Armenian leaders deny this, saying that Azerbaijani citizens and cargo cannot be exempt from Armenian border controls.
Iran has likewise stated that Armenia must have full control and sovereignty over all roads passing through its territory. Tehran underscored its interest in Syunik when it announced last December its decision to open an Iranian consulate in Kapan.
The U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, Lynne Tracy, also visited Syunik on Tuesday. According to the provincial administration, she discussed with Syunik Governor Robert Ghukasian ways of supporting the region through socioeconomic and educational projects.