MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia told Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Monday that he had only himself to blame for Azerbaijan’s victory over Nagorno-Karabakh because he insisted on flirting with the West rather than Moscow and Baku to work together for peace.
Pashinyan said in an address to the nation on Sunday that Russia had failed Armenia by failing to provide further aid to avert the crisis in the breakaway region, adding that he needed to reshape Armenia’s security alliances.
The Russian Foreign Ministry hit back with a sharply worded attack on Pashinyan.
“We are convinced that Yerevan’s leadership is making a huge mistake by deliberately trying to destroy Armenia’s diverse and centuries-old ties with Russia, while making the country hostage to the West’s geopolitical games,” it said.
Azerbaijan captured Karabakh in a lightning offensive last week, sending thousands of ethnic Armenians fleeing to Armenia. Baku has promised to protect the rights of the roughly 120,000 Armenians who call Karabakh home, but many have refused to accept its assurances.
Karabakh is internationally considered Azerbaijani territory.
Russia, which has around 2,000 peacekeepers in the region, said Pashinyan was trying to “absolve himself of responsibility for failures in domestic and foreign policy by shifting the blame to Moscow.”
Pashinyan’s comments about reshaping alliances suggest he is preparing to turn away from Armenia’s alliance with Moscow toward the West, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Russia said Pashinyan “shied away from cooperating in rhythm with Russia and Azerbaijan and instead fled to the West” to resolve the Karabakh crisis and that authorities in Yerevan had stoked anti-Russian hysteria in the Armenian media.
Moscow denied suggestions that it was involved in the protests in Yerevan and warned Pashinyan that while Russia had not fomented revolutions, the West had.
“The Armenian head of government should be aware that Moscow does not interfere in such things – unlike the West, which is quite adept at organizing ‘color revolutions,'” Russia said.
Russia accuses the United States of fomenting so-called color revolutions in several post-Soviet republics, including Ukraine.
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Gareth Jones)
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