The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin yesterday (7 June) conducted a telephone conversation in which they discussed the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh amongst other things.
The Kremlin has highlighted that the parties discussed the Karabakh situation in terms of the importance “of the further and consistent implementation of the statements made by the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia on November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021.” It’s reported that they discussed the priority issues as the unblocking of transport corridors and the tackling of humanitarian issues. Michel is reported as having expressed support for these efforts, including the work of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.
In the readouts provided by their respective press offices, the men acknowledged the tense relations between the EU and Russia, with Putin expressing that they “could not be considered satisfactory” and Michel more bluntly referring to them as being “at a low” and that the “further deterioration is in neither side’s interests”. Whilst the Russian report concentrates more heavily on conversations around the need for co-operation, the EU reports that Michel “condemned the illegal, provocative and disruptive Russian activities against the EU, its member states and others.”
In response to EU sanctions and pressure on Belarus, Putin stated that “such an approach, like any attempt to interfere in this sovereign state’s domestic affairs, was counterproductive.”
Michel is said also to have stressed the EU’s commitment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, stressing Russia’s obligation to fully implement the Minsk Agreements. The Kremlin reports that both sides agreed on the importance of the 2015 Minsk Package of Measures, stressing that the Ukrainian government in Kyiv needed to implement all the procedures, “primarily on establishing a direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk and legalising the special status of Donbass.”