In a visit to Baku, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticised the EU monitoring mission in Armenia, pledging Moscow’s support to the Azerbaijan–Armenia peace process.
On Tuesday, the second and final day of his visit, Lavrov accused the European Union of ‘abusing’ the Armenia–Azerbaijan relations by sending a monitoring mission to Armenia.
‘The European Union mission to Armenia raises many questions about its functions and mandate. Its technical details are very important’, said Lavrov in a joint press conference with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov.
Lavrov said that Moscow was ready to offer support in the ongoing peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan but that Russia ‘will not insist on offering [its] services’.
He stressed that the operation of the Lachin Corridor should fully correspond to the November 2020 ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The agreement stipulated that Russian peacekeepers stationed in Nagorno-Karabakh should oversee the road.
The Lachin Corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, has been blocked by a group of Azerbaijanis claiming to be eco-activists since December.
[Read more on OC Media: Nagorno-Karabakh enters third month of blockade]
In turn, Bayramov accused Armenia of violating the ceasefire agreement by not using the corridor for humanitarian purposes. He argued that Armenia’s violation of the agreement ‘caused the rightful protest of the civil society of Azerbaijan’.
‘There are no negative humanitarian consequences of the said protest action’, said Bayramov, according to the Azerbaijani readout of the conference.
Azerbaijan has consistently accused Armenia of using the Lachin Corridor for transporting mines and planting them in ‘areas to which Azerbaijani civilians will return in Azerbaijan’s territory’.
Reacting to Lavrov’s statements in Baku, Armenia’s Parliamentary Speaker Alen Simonyan accused Moscow of being ‘emotional’ when the West intervenes in the Armenia–Azerbaijan peace process, lamenting Russia’s inability to solve the conflict.