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Russia protests Armenian Bucha visit

10 June 2024
Armenian Ambassador to Ukraine, Vladimir Karapetyan (right), and the head of Yerevan’s Nor Nork District, Tigran Ter-Margaryan (left), lay candles at a memorial to those killed by Russian troops in Bucha. Photo: Bucha City Council.

Russia has sent a protest note to the Armenian Foreign Ministry regarding a visit by Armenian officials to Bucha.

On Sunday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the visit was ‘an openly unfriendly step on the part of official Yerevan’. 

Details of the visit emerged on 31 May, when the Bucha City Council posted images on social media of Armenia’s Ambassador to Ukraine, Vladimir Karapetyan, and the head of Yerevan’s Nor Nork District, Tigran Ter-Margaryan meeting with the mayor and deputy mayor of Bucha. They said the delegation had delivered medical assistance to local hospitals.

Yerevan’s Nor Nork District shared a similar statement several days later. 

In her statement, Zakharova said Moscow had objected to ‘unacceptable statements’ made by the Armenian delegation ‘against Russia’.

According to the Ukrainian statement on the meeting, Ter-Margaryan praised Ukraine for resisting Russian aggression.

‘We are proud of the courage of the Ukrainian people who defend their freedom and independence on the battlefield’, they quoted him as saying. ‘The city of Yerevan and the Nor Nork District will always support Bucha and other communities affected by Russian aggression. This humanitarian aid is only a small part of our solidarity.’

The head of Yerevan’s Nor Nork District, Tigran Ter-Margaryan (right) presents humanitarian aid from Armenia.

A similar quote from Ter-Margaryan published by the Armenian side was far shorter, and did not refer to ‘Russian aggression’. 

‘We are proud of the courage of the Ukrainian people and are always ready to support Bucha and other communities affected by the war’, they quoted him as saying.

Ter-Margaryan and the Yerevan local authorities did not respond to a request for comment.

Zakharova also accused Armenia of transferring assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces as part of the visit.

Neither the Ukrainian nor Armenian statements disclosed any information about any assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

‘Absurdities and lies’

Commenting on the Bucha visit on Friday and before making her official statement, Zakharova reportedly asked ‘Armenian parliamentarians’, to share a list of people allegedly killed in Bucha. 

‘For two years we have not been able to get anyone, including the UN, to provide us with data with a list of people who allegedly died there,’ Russian state media Sputnik cited her as saying. 

Moscow claims the massacre of civilians in Bucha was staged by Ukraine.

In response, the Speaker of the Armenian Parliament, Alen Simonyan, said he did not comment on ‘absurdities and lies’. He also noted that no Armenian parliamentary delegation had visited Bucha.

He proposed to instead send a list of 200 Armenians killed and over 100,000 displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh in September 2023 ‘if they are interested in the area where they were carrying out peacekeeping activities’.

[Read on OC Media: The last bus out of Nagorno-Karabakh]

Simonyan, who appeared unaware of the visit to Bucha, noted that he would ask the Yerevan’s Nor Nork District to give an official answer to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

On Sunday, Nor Nork head Tigran Ter-Margaryan published ‘a few clarifications especially for Ms Zakharova’. He said it was ‘odd’ that the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry had ‘confused’ an administrative district of Yerevan with Armenia’s National Assembly. He also said that as a result of his visit, he was ‘convinced that Russia cannot defeat Ukraine’.

Vladimir Karapetyan (left), Tigran Ter-Margaryan (right) visiting a display documenting Russian war crimes and crimes against humanity in Bucha. Photo: Nor Nork District.

Amidst Armenia’s deteriorating relations with Russia, Yerevan sent its first humanitarian aid to Ukraine since the fullscale invasion began in September 2023. 

The delivery of aid was reportedly facilitated by Anna Hakobyan, the wife of Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who attended a summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen in Kyiv organised by Ukraine’s First Lady that month. 

Earlier this spring, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly planned a visit to Armenia and Azerbaijan, though the visit eventually did not materialise.

Read in Russian on SOVA.News.
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