(Reuters) – Russia on Thursday sharply criticized a call by the European Union to arrange a brand new civilian mission in Armenia, saying it could solely additional gasoline the “geopolitical confrontation” in a area stricken by tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The EU mentioned the two-year mission accepted on Monday will contribute to stability in Armenia’s border areas and can assist create “an atmosphere conducive to normalization efforts between Armenia and Azerbaijan”.
Moscow is the principle energy dealer within the South Caucasus and has lengthy opposed any interference by outdoors powers within the former Soviet republics, a zone it calls its “close to overseas.” It deployed peacekeeping forces to the area in 2020 after a warfare between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the second because the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Nevertheless, his authority is put to the take a look at because the warfare in Ukraine attracts the eye of the Kremlin and reduces his skill to combat fires elsewhere.
“The looks of the EU representatives within the border areas of Armenia … can solely carry a geopolitical confrontation to the area and exacerbate present contradictions,” Russia’s international ministry mentioned in an announcement.
“The EU’s makes an attempt to realize a foothold in Armenia at any price and to stifle Russia’s mediation efforts may hurt the elemental pursuits of Armenians and Azerbaijanis of their quest for a return to peaceable improvement within the area.”
Russian peacekeepers and Russian border guards stationed on Armenia’s borders will stay the important thing think about regional stability for the foreseeable future, the ministry added.
For many years, the principle flashpoint of the Nagorno-Karabakh area has been an enclave internationally acknowledged as a part of Azerbaijan, however residence to round 120,000 Armenians.
The EU’s transfer comes amid rising Armenian frustration over the failure of Russian peacekeepers to reopen the Lakhin Hall, the one route by means of Azerbaijan that Armenia can use to carry meals, gasoline and medicines to Nagorno-Karabakh.
The story goes on
The hall has been closed since December 12, when protesters posing as environmental activists stopped site visitors by establishing tents. Azerbaijan denies any blockade and says activists are staging a reliable protest in opposition to unlawful mining actions.
The Kremlin mentioned Tuesday Russia is working laborious with each side within the area to resolve the state of affairs.
(Reporting by Gareth Jones; Enhancing by Mark Trevelyan)