Russian anger mounts over Azerbaijan’s stance on Ukrainian territorial integrity

Russia-Azerbaijan. Photo: GoodIdeas/shutterstock

Azerbaijan’s recent declaration, affirming its recognition of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, has stirred tensions in official Moscow.

Representatives of the Russian government have expressed strong disapproval of this position. In response, the Russian Foreign Ministry has taken the step of issuing a diplomatic demarche to the Azerbaijani government, primarily in connection with Baku’s comments regarding the recent elections held in four Ukrainian regions.

During a press briefing convened on September 13, Maria Zakharova, an official spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, openly voiced Moscow’s discontent with Azerbaijan’s stance.

Zakharova not only labeled the Azerbaijani statements as unacceptable but also emphasized their incongruence with the anticipated nature of the alliance between the two nations. In addition, she alluded to the historical background of the contested regions, further complicating the diplomatic discourse, mentioning “I think that our Azerbaijani friends are well aware of the history of the new regions”.

The rift emerged on September 9 when Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a public announcement of mutual recognition and support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In its official statement, Azerbaijan asserted that any elections conducted within Ukraine, provided they adhere to the country’s constitutional and legal framework, should be considered legitimate. However, the Azerbaijani ministry asserted that the recent “elections” conducted within certain internationally recognized Ukrainian territories did not meet these criteria, leading to the conclusion that they held no legal validity.

It remains to be seen how this situation will evolve and whether it will have broader implications for regional geopolitics.

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