Nikol Pashinyan, the prime minister of Armenia, was in Moscow yesterday (7 April) for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin noted the importance of the meeting to address both developments in the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh as well as important issues related to Russian-Armenian bilateral relations.
Whilst the Russian leader didn’t go into detail on the bilateral issues that he intended to discuss with the Prime Minister, he referred to the countries’ bilateral relations as being “of a truly strategic nature”, noting the extensive investments of Russian origin in the Armenian economy and the “impressive” trade figures between the countries.
Putin mentioned that the tripartite working-group – to implement the agreement that ended last year’s 44-day war – had been working energetically and highlighted Pashinyan’s bold actions to support the group’s activities. He expressed the crucial importance of opening up regional transport routes for Armenia’s growth.
Thanking Putin for his invitation, Pashinyan emphasised the “rich agenda” and “strategic nature” of the meeting. The Armenian leader noted that the presence of Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh had become “a major factor of stability and security in the region” and expressed hope that he could discuss the Russian leader’s views on the architecture of security systems in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia, and the wider region.
The Armenian leader thanked Putin for his personal contribution to the ceasefire agreement, which ended the 44-day war, but highlighted the ongoing issue of Armenian soldiers in Azerbaijani custody, which he saw as being contradictory to the agreement, which stipulated the return of all hostages, prisoners of war, and other detainees.
Beyond Nagorno-Karabakh, Pashinyan indicated that the issues of economic co-operation between the countries were very important to Armenia. The Prime Minister also indicated that he will discuss with the Russian President the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Armenia.
Regarding co-operation on the COVID-19 pandemic, Pashinyan remarked that the first batch of 15,000 Russian Sputnik vaccines was being delivered tomorrow, but considering the efficacy of the vaccine, he intended to buy a lot more – “more than a million”. Putin responded confirming that production of the vaccine was being increased and so it was likely Russia could help. He ended by remarking that the two leaders would discuss this during today’s meeting.