Police in Moscow made at least 25 arrests on Friday following overnight violent attacks involving local Armenians and Azerbaijanis as a result of last week’s deadly fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
The violence erupted late on Thursday, with various groups of men reportedly attacking other people and businesses on ethnic grounds.
Russian police catch groups of Azerbaijanis who attacked Armenians in Moscow pic.twitter.com/lBeDtw2NwT
— Elina 🇷🇺 || 🇦🇲 (@elle_4_life) July 23, 2020
An amateur video posted on the Internet showed a group of Azerbaijanis allegedly vandalize a car with Armenian license plates and beating its driver. In another video, a group of people beat up an allegedly elderly Armenian man.
A Russian-Armenian activist, David Tonoyan, reported at least five attacks on Armenians which he said mostly occurred in Moscow’s southern suburbs. One Armenian was stabbed and hospitalized as a result, he said, adding that the Russian police beefed up security in those areas.
“According to our information, only Azerbaijanis have been arrested so far,” Tonoyan told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.
The violent incidents came hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with leaders of Russia’s sizable Armenian and Azerbaijani communities to discuss ways of maintaining what his press office called “interethnic peace and accord” in the country. Ara Abramian, the pro-Kremlin chairman of the Union of Armenians of Russia, said Lavrov’s meeting with him and Azerbaijani-born businessman God Nisanov took place at his initiative.
— Sipan🇦🇲 (@sipandro) July 24, 2020
The Moscow police department reported, meanwhile, that it arrested more than 25 people on suspicion of involvement in what it described as “a number of conflict situations between citizens” in Maryino. It was careful not to mention their nationality or ethnicity.
🔥During the night, Moscow police detained about 50 ethnic Azerbaijanis who participated in the beating of Armenians. pic.twitter.com/sFFIFOfieN
— Elina 🇦🇲 || 🇷🇺 (@elle_4_life) July 24, 2020
In a statement, the department said it is continuing to investigate the incidents and warned of tough action against more “manifestations of collective violation of the public order.”
Union of Armenians of Russia has called on Armenians living in Russia not to succumb to provocations. Over the past week, amid Armenian-Azerbaijani tensions, both Armenians and Azerbaijanis abroad have staged protests in front of the diplomatic missions of the two countries, accompanied by violence and other incidents. As a result, there are victims and detainees.
Clashes between Armenians and Azerbaijanis also took place in Los Angeles, London, The Hague, Chisinau, Warsaw and other cities.
The security cameras of the Armenian Embassy in Germany recorded suspects setting an embassy vehicle on fire.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry said on Friday that some of its diplomats working abroad have received threats. It did not elaborate.
In a statement, the ministry accused the Azerbaijani authorities of inciting violence. It also urged Armenian nationals living abroad and Diaspora Armenians not to “succumb to any provocation.”