Moscow condemns Bucha visit by Armenian ambassador to Ukraine

The Armenian delegation in Bucha. Photo: Armenian Embassy to Ukraine and Moldova

The Armenian delegation in Bucha. Photo: Armenian Embassy to Ukraine and Moldova

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova described a visit to the Kyiv region town of Bucha by the Armenian ambassador to Ukraine and his subsequent declaration of solidarity with the Ukrainian people as an “unfriendly step” on Sunday.

On 2 June, Armenia’s ambassador to Ukraine, Vladimir Karapetyan, led a visiting Armenian delegation on a visit to Bucha to pay their respects to the civilians killed by Russian forces occupying the town in March 2022.

The town of Bucha became synonymous with Russian war crimes following the discovery of murdered civilians with bound hands behind their backs on the streets and, subsequently, mass graves, upon the town’s liberation by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Kremlin has always denied the massacre and has accused the West of staging it using actors to discredit Russia.

Despite being historic allies, Armenian-Russian ties have deteriorated in recent years, particularly since Moscow’s refusal to come to Armenia’s aid when Azerbaijani forces entered its territory during a 2023 military operation to retake control of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed region that had been controlled by ethnic Armenians since 1994.

In February, Armenia suspended its participation in the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), a Moscow-led military alliance made up of former Soviet republics. Since then Yerevan has been actively seeking to strengthen its ties to the West, even holding joint military exercises with the US in September.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it had issued a formal note of protest to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, citing Karapetyan’s “inadmissible statements about Russia” and his delivery of medical aid to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, asking how Yerevan viewed “such statements by members of the delegation from a country that is, at least formally, our CSTO ally?”

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