YEREVAN — Russia allowed Azerbaijan to start the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh and regain full control over the region last September, Armen Grigoryan, the secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, told reporters on Wednesday.

“Russia came, took Nagorno Karabakh away from the Armenians, returned it to Azerbaijan and then went back,”  Grigoryan, stated. “This is the whole reality. I insist that Russia took Nagorno Karabakh. Without Russia’s permission, there would have been no war.”

Grigoryan appeared to echo Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s May 22 claims that two member states of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) helped Azerbaijan prepare for the 2020 war. Pashinyan is believed to have to referred to Russia and Belarus. The Russian Foreign Ministry challenged him to name those countries before recalling Russia’s ambassador to Armenia for consultations.

Grigoryan defended what Pashinyan and his political allies describe as a “diversification” of Armenia’s foreign and security policy. Ending its “total dependence” on Russia will “bring stability” to the region, he said.

Grigoryan argued on Wednesday that Russia already accounts for less than 10 percent of the Armenia’s arms acquisitions because of its failure to honor Russian-Armenian defense contracts singed in 2021 and 2022.

Grigoryan claimed that the Russians are also reluctant to help Armenia rebuild and modernize its armed forces.

“I don’t want to name names but must say that a high-ranking official from Armenia was once told that if Russia supplies Armenia with arms and ammunition Armenia will toughen its positions and that’s also why they don’t deliver [the weapons.]”

Russia reacted angrily to Grigoryan’s claims, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accusing him of “humiliating his own people” and questioning his sanity.

“Citizens of Armenia defended their territory, sacrificed their lives and considered that historically important,” Zakharova told a news briefing. “The ideology of Armenia as a state for many years was built precisely on these theses. They knew why they were going into battle, why they were sacrificing their well-being, dooming their wives and children to widowhood and orphanhood.”

Grigory Karasin, a senior member of Russia’s upper house of its parliament, called Grigoryan’s comments “absolutely not true.”

“One should look at the records and speeches of Armenian political figures, including senior leadership,” Karasin told the RIA Novosti news agency. “They contain the answers to these questions.”


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