YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has praised the current state of Russia’s relationship with Armenia, speaking of unprecedented “political dialogue” between the two states.
“Russian-Armenian relations have passed the test of time and I have no doubts that they will continue to develop in the spirit of mutual trust, strategic cooperation and allied partnership,” Lavrov told the Argumenty I Fakty newspaper in an interview published on Monday.
“Our country is always ready to stand by the brotherly Armenian people,” he said. “This is evidenced by mediation efforts by Russia and President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin personally thanks to which hostilities [in Nagorno-Karabakh] were stopped and a process of settling the situation in the region was launched.”
“There is an unprecedentedly active political dialogue based on mutual trust between us at the high and other levels. There have already been two meetings and numerous phone calls between the leaders of Armenia and Russia this year,” he said, adding that bilateral commercial ties are also expanding.
Lavrov insisted that the Russian-brokered agreement that stopped the Armenian-Azerbaijani war in November is being implemented despite Baku’s continuing refusal to release more than 100 Armenian soldiers and civilians remaining in Azerbaijani captivity.
The agreement calls for the unconditional release of all prisoners held by the conflicting parties.
Armenia maintains that Azerbaijan further violated it by sending troops across several sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border earlier this month. It says that at least 500 Azerbaijani soldiers remain within Armenia’s internationally recognized borders.
The resulting standoff between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces has led the Armenian government to formally ask Russia and the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for military assistance.
Moscow has responded by calling for a delimitation and demarcation of the border and offering to act as a mediator in that process. A relevant Armenian-Azerbaijani drafted by it has caused a stir in Yerevan, with opposition politicians and other critics of the government accusing Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian of being ready to cede Armenian territory to Baku.
Lavrov did not comment on Yerevan’s request of Russian military support.