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French accusations ‘twist’ reality – Vladimir Putin

The Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected claims by his French counterpart that Moscow was stoking the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Vladimir Putin

The Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected claims by his French counterpart that Moscow was stoking the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s accusations that Russia is playing a negative role in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict twist reality and were unacceptable, President Vladimir Putin has said.

“I believe that those statements show a lack of understanding of the nature of the conflict. There appears to be a lack of knowledge about the positions of the parties,” the Russian leader said on Wednesday during an international event in Astana. “Consequently, they sounded wrong and even twisted in a way and were unacceptable.”

Russia welcomes all efforts to mediate the conflict between Baku and Yerevan over Nagorno-Karabakh and will continue to play its part, Putin added. He invited the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to meet in Moscow to discuss the differences between their nations.

This week, Macron claimed that Russia “played Azerbaijan’s game with Turkish complicity and came back to weaken Armenia, which was once a country it was close to.”

“You see what’s happening? It’s an effort by Russia to destabilize. It wants to create disorder in the Caucasus to destabilize all of us,” Macron told France 2 television on Wednesday.

Nagorno-Karabakh has long been a flashpoint of ethnic tensions between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. Baku claims sovereignty over the entire territory of former Soviet Azerbaijan, including Nagorno-Karabakh, which had an autonomous status within it. The region’s population was predominantly Armenian and sought to become part of Soviet Armenia in the late 1980s, provoking accusations of separatism from Baku.

The tensions escalated into an open war in the early 1990s, after which Nagorno-Karabakh remained self-governed, with Yerevan’s informal backing. France and Russia, along with the US, co-chair of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group, was created in 1992 to mediate the conflict.

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a 44-day war over Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020, which ended with a Russian-brokered truce and the ceding of some territories to Baku. Last month, they had deadly skirmishes elsewhere on their border. Russia keeps a peacekeeping military mission assigned to Nagorno-Karabakh.

Amid the tensions, top US officials offered to help Armenia, claiming that Washington could provide it with security, unlike Moscow. Armenia hosts a Russian military base.

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