Armenian and Russian foreign ministers to hold talks

Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan will meet today in Moscow with US, French and Russian officials from the Minsk Group

Russia Armenia ministers

Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry/ Reuters

Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan will meet today in Moscow with US, French and Russian officials from the Minsk Group as they work to mediate solutions to the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Traditionally strong allies, Russia and Armenia share membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, a counterweight to NATO. The 2018 election of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has, however, resulted in Armenia’s adoption of a more bellicose posture towards Azerbaijan and the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, and strained the Armenian-Russian relationship.

Though Russia has recently supported embattled allies in Belarus and Syria, its stance towards Armenian claims to Nagorno-Karabakh has been more neutral, with the Kremlin precluding a security guarantee specifically for Nagorno-Karabakh, while affirming that Russian commitments apply solely to internationally-recognised Armenian territory.

It’s unlikely that Russia will abandon Armenia should Azerbaijan deploy forces into Armenia proper. However, expect Russia to use today’s meetings to pressure Yerevan on its presence in internationally-recognised Azerbaijani territory. Credited late last week with a ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Russian diplomatic efforts have intensified as the conflict has continued, testing not only Russian relations with Armenia, but also Moscow’s ties with Azerbaijan. Frustration over what it views as Armenian intransigence will likely lead Russia to advocate a substantive end-status compromise.

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