MOSCOW — The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova denied reports on pressuring Armenia to make it join the Union State of Russia and Belarus, claiming they are not substantiated with facts and are false.

She said that if such statements are made without facts and at the same time the country is mentioned and demands are presented, then it should be substantiated with facts.

“Are there facts? How was it pressured? How did it happen? No Russian official has ever talked about Armenia joining the Union State. Assessments have been given to all such statements,” Zakharova said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the same can be said in context of reports claiming Moscow is forcing Yerevan to provide a corridor to Azerbaijan. “This is fake, and we’ve talked about this many times as well. In accordance with the 11 October 2021 statement of the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, various ways of opening of connections, including issues related to restoring railway transport in Armenia’s south are discussed in the trilateral working group on the unblocking of all economic and transport connections in the region. One of the principles of this work, which isn’t disputed neither by Yerevan nor by Baku, is that the sovereignty over connections belongs to the country through which the connections pass,” Zakharova said.

Some pro-government members of the Armenian parliament made such claims shortly after Azerbaijan blocked Nagorno-Karabakh’s sole land link with Armenia on December 12. They said Moscow is using the blockade to clinch such concessions from Yerevan.

Armen Grigoryan, the secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, effectively echoed their allegations earlier this week. Although Grigoryan did not explicitly name the country allegedly exerting such pressure, he was widely understood to have referred to Russia.

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