(Reuters) – Armenia discussed with Russia its plans to come under the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction, Russian media said on Sunday, a move strongly opposed by Moscow after the court issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin.
Relations between the traditional allies have frayed badly since Putin launched an invasion of neighbouring Ukraine in February 2022. Yerevan has said it was moving to come under the court’s jurisdiction, prompting Moscow to warn of “serious consequences” if it did.
The court in The Hague accused Putin in March of the war crime of illegally deporting hundreds or more children from Ukraine, a claim condemned by the Kremlin as meaningless and outrageously partisan.
The warrant obliges the court’s 123 member states to detain and transfer Putin if he sets foot on their territory.
The ambassador at large of Armenia’s Foreign Ministry, Edmon Marukyan, said Yereven has sent “proposals” on the issue to Moscow, the TASS news agency reported. “A meeting was held and the process is underway,” it quoted him as saying.
Bilateral ties have further deteriorated in recent months over what Yerevan says is Moscow’s failure to fully uphold a 2020 ceasefire treaty it helped broker between Armenia and Azerbaijan to end their war over Nagorno-Karabakh – an Armenian-populated region of Azerbaijan.
Marukyan said Armenia’s plan to become a party to the Rome Statute, bringing it under the international court’s remit, was “not against the Russian Federation but because of war crimes committed on territory of the Republic of Armenia by the Azerbaijani side”, TASS reported.
“Our Russian partners are well aware of this.”
Yerevan has in recent weeks repeatedly accused Azerbaijan of massing forces around Karabakh, which Baku has effectively blockaded since December 2022, causing acute hunger.
A deal struck last weekend to unblock roads to the territory has yet to take full effect.
Nonetheless, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Sunday a peace pact with Baku was possible by the end of the year and that Yerevan was doing everything for that to happen, TASS reported.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by William Mallard)
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