President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Thursday urged restraint as Armenia was thrust into a full-blown crisis when its top military staff called for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his government.
Putin discussed the crisis with Pashinyan during a phone conversation on Thursday evening local time, RIA Novosti reported citing the Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
“The situation in Armenia was discussed … Putin spoke in favor of maintaining order and peace in Armenia, resolving the situation within the law,” Peskov said adding that Putin “called on all parties to exercise restraint.”
Pashinyan’s press office reported the call as well, but it claimed that the Putin “expressed support for the legitimate authorities of Armenia.”
“We are watching the situation in Armenia with alarm,” the Russia TASS news agency quoted Peskov as saying earlier Thursday. “And we regard this [the situation in Armenia] as an exclusively internal affair of Armenia, our very important and close ally in the Caucasus.”
Peskov said political stability in Armenia is essential for a continued implementation of the November 9 agreement.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Armenian counterpart Ara Aivazyan also spoke by phone earlier Thursday, with the Armenian foreign ministry reporting that the two “stressed the need to maintain regional security and stability” without elaborating on more details.
Similarly, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu phoned Armenia’s Defense Minister Vagharshak Harutiunyan, whose office simply said that the two discussed the “current situation in Armenia.”
In remarks earlier Thursday, Pashinyan signaled that Harutiunyan supported his government, despite the military brass breaking ranks and urging the government’s resignation.