Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the political crisis in Armenia with the country’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the Kremlin said on Thursday.
Putin urged Armenia to maintain order and peace in the country, and resolve the situation under the law, it said in a statement.
He also called on the opposing sides to exercise restraint, it added.
Earlier today, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia follows the recent developments in Armenia with “concern,” but considers the military’s demand for the prime minister’s resignation “Armenia’s internal affair.”
In a separate statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a phone talk with his Armenian counterpart Ara Ayvazyan.
“The Russian side stressed that it considers the situation as an internal matter of Armenia, and hopes for its peaceful settlement,” the statement said.
The Armenian military on Thursday called for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Onik Gasparyan, the chief of General Staff of the Armenian army, along with other senior commanders released a statement calling for Pashinyan to step down.
Pashinyan blasted the military’s call as a coup attempt, and urged his supporters to take to the streets to resist.
He later announced the dismissal of the chief of General Staff on Facebook.
The unrest follows the end of a military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan last fall widely seen as a victory for the latter.
Relations between the former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
During the six week-conflict, which ended with a Russian-brokered truce, Azerbaijan liberated several strategic cities and nearly 300 of its settlements and villages from Armenian occupation.
Before this, about 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory had been under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.
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