MOSCOW (RFE/RL) — Russia again demanded on Friday, January 11, that Azerbaijan stop barring Russian citizens of Armenian descent from visiting the South Caucasus country, saying that the practice is “incompatible with friendly relations between the two countries.”
“We have repeatedly raised this issue with the Azerbaijani side and said that such instances are becoming a tradition, a bad and wrong tradition,” said Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman.
“In our view, such facts constitute a blatant violation of the rights of Russian citizens,” Zakharova said at a news briefing in Moscow.
“The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly brought the Azerbaijani side’s attention to the unacceptability of the existing situation. We have demanded an end to detentions and expulsions. The practice is incompatible with friendly ties between the two countries.”
The Azerbaijani government has long maintained a travel ban for not only Armenia’s citizens but also ethnic Armenians from other countries because of the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It considers any Armenian presence on Azerbaijani soil a security risk and an affront to the country’s honor and territorial integrity.
According to Zakharova, in 2018 there were at least 16 cases of Russian nationals denied entry to Azerbaijan “on ethnic grounds.”