Russia’s Foreign Ministry has criticised the European Union for sending a monitoring mission to Armenia, accusing it of trying to undermine Russia’s influence in the region.
On Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova accused the European Union of attempting to gain a foothold in Armenia.
‘Regrettably, this is not the first time when we see that the European Union is sparing no effort to win a foothold in our allied Armenia’, she said. ‘We only see political motives behind these attempts which are a far cry from the interests of normalising relations in the South Caucasus’.
The spokesperson’s statements came on the day that the EU deployed a two-year civilian monitoring mission in Armenia.
Zakharova stated that Baku’s ‘negative views’ about the mission had been ‘ignored’.
Azerbaijan reluctantly agreed to the mission in January, with the Foreign Ministry stating that some EU member states had shown ‘bias’ that ‘affected the overall trust as regards to the credibility and transparency of the decision-making within the EU’.
‘We remain of the firm position that such an engagement must not be exploited for derailing the normalisation process between Azerbaijan and Armenia, including in the context of [the] border delimitation process that should be carried out exclusively on a bilateral basis’, read the ministry’s statement.
The two-year monitoring mission comes following a two-month mission which was deployed along the Armenia–Azerbaijan border following the September 2022 war between the two countries.
Consisting of 100 civilian members, including 50 unarmed monitors, the mission will be headquartered in Yeghegnadzor in southern Armenia. Germany, France, Lithuania, and the Netherlands are among the countries that have announced their participation in the mission so far.
The EU foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, praised the mission’s prospects, stating that it will support EU efforts in the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan.