‘Karabakh is Simply Azerbaijan,’ Lavrov Says Blaming Yerevan and Baku for Abandoning Artsakh Residents

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at a press conference on the margins of the UN General Assembly on Sep. 23

By further punctuating the rift between Russia and the West, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday blamed Yerevan and Baku for abandoning the Armenians of Artsakh by turning to the European Union and under its auspices agreeing to recognize each other’s territorial integrity.

When Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a document under the auspices of the European Union that they recognize each other’s territorial integrity within the 1991 borders, that mean “Karabakh is simply Azerbaijan. That’s it,” Lavrov said during a press conference on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.

“By the way, when they signed this document under the auspices of the European Union, they forgot to write there that, of course, it is necessary to ensure the rights of the Karabakh residents as national minority,” Lavrov emphasized.

“When discussions began in Armenia about who gave Karabakh to whom and who did not give Karabakh to whom, the Chairman of the Armenian Parliament Alen Simonyan was not ashamed to say that Putin gave Karabakh to Azerbaijan back in November 2020, when we signed an agreement on the termination that 44-day war,” Lavrov said, once again hitting back at Armenia’s top lawmaker for making incendiary comments about Moscow.

The Russian foreign minister spoke about the documents signed by Pashinyan, Aliyev and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, among them the November 9, 2020 agreement.

“Those agreements said that Karabakh is the zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping contingent and it was implied — it was discussed during the negotiations — that the discussions on status of Karabakh would postponed and will be considered later,” Lavrov stressed.

Russia has been blaming Pashinyan for his recognition of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity that includes Baku’s sovereignty over Artsakh.

As Armenia’s criticism of Russia crescendoed before this week’s Azerbaijani attack on Artsakh, Putin said that Pashinyan and his government were responsible for the humanitarian crisis created in Artsakh for their insistence to recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity in Brussels last October.

Putin also expressed hope that Azerbaijan would not resort to “ethnic cleansing” in Artsakh, but essentially signaled that Yerevan’s decision had left little choice for Moscow to act.