Armenia Foreign Ministry spokesman, Vahan Hunanyan

YEREVAN — Armenia indicated on Wednesday 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 Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Vahan Hunanyan, 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.

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 Pashinyan hours before announcing the decision late on Monday. According to Pashinyan’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.

Contrary to Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh republic leadership on Tuesday welcomed Russia’s recognition of the two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent republics.

“The right of nations to self-determination and building one’s own state is inalienable for every people and is a fundamental principle of international law,” Arayik Harutyunyan, the Karabakh president, said in a statement that welcomed Putin’s “historic” decision.

“The establishment of an independent state and its international recognition becomes imperative especially in the face of existential dangers, as it is the most effective and civilized means of preventing bloodshed and humanitarian disaster,” he said.

Harutyunyan drew parallels with the long-running conflict over Karabakh, saying that the disputed territory’s predominantly Armenian population deserves “international recognition of its sovereign state.”

 

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