By Astghik Bedevian
STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL) — Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian leadership on February 22 welcomed Russian recognition of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent republics.
By contrast, the Armenian government was in no rush to react to the development that will likely deepen Moscow’s standoff with Ukraine and the West.
Russian President Vladimir Putin officially recognized the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic in a lengthy televised address aired late on Monday. He went on to order the deployment of Russian forces there to “keep the peace.”
The move, which came after months of Russian military buildup along the Russia-Ukraine border, drew strong condemnation from the United States and European powers. They accused Moscow of violating international law and the 2014 Minsk agreements to end the conflict in the wider Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.
“The right of nations to self-determination and building their own state is inalienable for every people and is a fundamental principle of international law,” said Arayik Harutyunyan, the president of Karabakh, who welcomed Putin’s “historic” decision.