Russian President Putin dismisses Macron’s critique of Moscow’s role in Karabakh conflict

The French leader's remarks "show a lack of understanding of the course of the conflict," Vladimir Putin said during a meeting of leaders of Commonwealth of Independent States members, in Kazakhstan.

October 14, 2022 04:06 pm | Updated 09:42 pm IST - Astana, Kazakhstan

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the summit of leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States, in Astana, Kazakhstan October 14, 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the summit of leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States, in Astana, Kazakhstan October 14, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin on October 14 dismissed comments from his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that Moscow was "destabilising" the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Baku and Yerevan have fought two wars — in 2020 and in the 1990s — over Azerbaijan's Armenian populated region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Explained | Why the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh remains unresolved?

Deadly clashes in September along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border have raised the fears of a fresh all-out conflict. On Wednesday, Mr. Macron accused Russia of "destabilising" and "seeking to create disorder" in the Caucasus.

The French leader's remarks "show a lack of understanding of the course of the conflict," Mr. Putin said during a meeting of leaders of Commonwealth of Independent States members, in Kazakhstan. He added that Mr. Macron's accusations "sounded incorrect" and were "unacceptable".

"There will be an opportunity" to "discuss" this with Mr. Macron, Mr. Putin said as he also invited the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to Russia for talks "at any time, in any place".

"Russia has always sincerely sought to resolve any conflicts, including issues related to Karabakh," he said.

His comments came as Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijan's Jeyhun Bayramov met for talks in the Kazakh capital Astana. Russia's Foreign Ministry said the trio "discussed joint efforts on normalising Azerbaijani-Armenian relations".

The meeting was held amid the growing Western engagement in the volatile Caucasus region, where Russia — distracted by its war in Ukraine — is visibly losing influence after decades of domination.

On Wednesday, Kremlin foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov criticised the "attempts of non-regional players — the European Union (EU) and the U.S. — to wedge themselves in our work" on Armenian-Azerbaijani normalisation.

With Moscow increasingly isolated on the world stage following its February invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. and the EU have taken a leading role in mediating the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace talks.

Last week, the European Union announced a "civilian EU mission" to Armenia to help delineate the borders with Azerbaijan.

Following a slew of diplomatic efforts from Brussels and Washington, Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers met on October 3 in Geneva to begin drafting the text of a future peace treaty.

In September, at least 286 people were killed in border clashes at the Caucasus neighbours' border, before a U.S.-brokered truce ended the worst fighting since their 2020 war.

The six-week war in autumn 2020 claimed the lives of more than 6,500 troops from both sides and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire.

Under the deal, Armenia ceded swathes of territory it had controlled for decades, and Moscow deployed about 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to oversee the fragile truce.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan. The ensuing conflict claimed around 30,000 lives.

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