YEREVAN — The Armenian parliament speaker Alen Simonian rejected on Friday Russia’s latest claims that it is systematically “destroying” relations between the two longtime allies.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, made the claims on Thursday when she condemned a senior Armenian official’s participation in Western-backed peace talks on the conflict in Ukraine and meeting with the chief of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s staff. She called it a “demonstrative anti-Russian gesture of official Yerevan.”

Simonyan suggested that Moscow does not want Yerevan to “communicate with partners on multilateral platforms” and is trying to maintain Armenia’s “existential dependence” on Russia.

“This is apparently the ‘right allied’ approach,” Simonian wrote in a Telegram post.

Echoing Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s recent statements, Simonian also accused the Russians of not honoring their security commitments to Armenia and recalled their past large-scale arms deals with Azerbaijan.

Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan also  dismissed Zakharova’s complaints that Armenia’s state television and other pro-government media outlets have been spreading “Russophobic” propaganda.

“We believe that what our Russian partners are surprised by is the consequence of what we have seen on various [Russian] airwaves,” Mirzoyan told Armenian lawmakers.

He also said that the Armenian government hopes to mend fences with Moscow and “move on like partners.” “But not everything depends on one side,” added Mirzoyan.

The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier deplored what it called “a series of unfriendly steps” taken by Pashinyan’s administration. Those included his assertion Armenia’s military alliance with Russia has proved a “strategic mistakes” and Yerevan’s acceptance of jurisdiction of an international court that issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in March.

For its part, the Armenian side has held Moscow responsible for Azerbaijan’s recent military offensive that led to the forced exodus of Nagorno-Karabakh’s entire  Armenian population.

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