The Speaker of the State Duma - the lower House of the Parliament of Russia, Sergey Naryshkin, has lashed out against sanctions imposed on his country for its role in the Ukraine crisis whilst speaking to Armenian Members of Parliament in Yerevan.
The Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported that Naryshkin told the parliamentarians that Russia fears no sanctions and qualifies them as economic and political blackmail. The sanctions "have no legal basis," the speaker said, addressing the Armenian National Assembly. "To call things by their proper names, this is political and economic blackmail," the State Duma speaker said. "But they [the countries that have imposed sanctions against Russia] won't be able to achieve anything," the speaker said.
In Yerevan Naryshkin also met with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. The Press Service of the Armenian president reported that the President and the Russian visitor discussed "issues related to security and stability in the South Caucasus". The visit came amid increasing Armenian concern about the sale of Russian military hardware to Azerbaijan. Both the Armenian President and members of the Armenian parliament have in recent weeks voiced muted criticism of Russia in this regard. Criticism of Russia is rare amongst the Armenian political elite, and the criticism reflected a high degree of frustration with this asspect of Russian policy.
photo: Presdident Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia welcoming the Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Sergey Naryshkin in Yerevan on 30 March 2015. (picture courtesy opf the Press Service of the President of Armenia).
First Vice-President Aliyeva noted that Azerbaijan is located at the crossroads between the civilizations of the East and West, and is one of the few countries that are a member of both the Council of Europe and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
The transfer of the body of Tatunashvili back to Georgian jurisdiction was facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross. It is now expected that the Georgian authorities will hold an autopsy on the body to ascertain the cause of death.