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Moscow admonishes Baku for denouncing elections in Russia-occupied Ukraine

15 September 2023
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova. Image via The Moscow Times.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has criticised Azerbaijan for stating that it supports Ukraine’s sovereignty following local elections held in territories occupied by Russia in Ukraine.

Baku condemned Russia’s ‘sham elections’ in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson — Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia — on 9 September.

Russian authorities had held elections in the occupied Ukrainian regions to elect regional legislatures. They coincided with the election of Samvel Shahramanyan as president of Nagorno-Karabakh, which Ukraine also denounced in turn.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova stated that Azerbaijan should ‘treat issues of the territorial integrity of [Russia] with the same respect that our partners expect from us’.

‘I think that our Azerbaijani friends are well aware of the history of the new regions’, said Zakharova, adding that Baku’s condemnation of the elections in Russian-occupied Ukraine did not correspond to the nature of the alliance between the two countries.

Russia, which has had peacekeeping troops stationed in the region since the end of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, has not commented on the results of the presidential elections in Nagorno-Karabakh.

While Baku has not responded to Zakharova’s statements, Ahmad Alili, the director of the Caucasus Center for Political Analysis, a Baku-based independent think tank, told OC Media that Azerbaijan is likely to remain neutral towards the diplomat’s comments.

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He said that Russian–Azerbaijani relations are becoming codependent, as Azerbaijan’s peace talks with Armenia could open up communication and transit links with Turkey for Russia.

Alili added that Azerbaijan and Ukraine had offered each other mutual diplomatic support since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, which he argued Russia ‘chose to ignore’.

‘I do not consider this current concern between Russia and Azerbaijan to be serious and it is nothing more than standard diplomatic reactions’, he said.

 For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.

Read in Armenian on CivilNet
Read in Georgian on On.ge.