Putin to attend 1915 commemoration in Yerevan
Nerdun Hacıoğlu - MOSCOW
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian are seen in this file photo. Cihan photoRussian President Vladimir Putin has announced that he will attend the ceremony in Yerevan to commemorate the 1915 events.
According to a statement issued by the Russian Presidency, Putin told his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian by telephone on March 12 that he would join the commemoration ceremony scheduled for April 24 in Yerevan.
Armenia says up to 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians were killed in a genocide starting from 1915. Turkey denies that the deaths amounted to genocide, saying the death toll of Armenians killed during mass deportations has been inflated and that those killed in 1915 and 1916 were victims of general unrest during World War I.
Russia is among around 20 nations that recognise the killings as genocide.
News of Putin’s call to Sarkisian comes as speculation that he is ill swirls online following his cancelation of a number of meetings.
Speaking to AFP, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the claims, ascribing media reports of the leader’s ill-health to “March madness.”
Armenia is Russia’s most loyal ally in the Caucasus, but ties have been strained since January when a Russian serviceman killed a family of seven in Armenia, sparking mass protests.