PARIS (Reuters) — France’s President Emmanuel Macron accused Russia on Wednesday, October 12, of purposefully provoking the recent clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan as part of an effort destabilize the Caucasus region and beyond.
The worst fighting between the two ex-Soviet countries since 2020 broke out in late September, killing more than 200 people.
Moscow, which has a defense pact with Armenia and a military base there, deployed thousands of peacekeepers to Karabakh after a ceasefire in 2020.
That reaffirmed its role as policeman and chief power broker in the volatile part of the former Soviet Union where Turkey also wields increasing influence thanks to its close alliance with Azerbaijan.
However, speaking to France 2 television, Macron said Moscow had stoked tensions in recent months in favor of Azerbaijan.
“What’s been happening on the border the last two years … 5,000 Russian soldiers are allegedly there to guarantee the border, (but) the Russians have used this conflict which dated back several centuries and played Azerbaijan’s game with Turkish complicity and came back to weaken Armenia which was once a country it was close to,” Macron said.