Putin joins commemoration of Armenian genocide in Yerevan

Fri 24 Apr 2015 at 12:36 International
NNA - Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Friday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.


Putin arrived in Yerevan in the early hours of Friday morning and joined other world leaders, including French President Francois Hollande and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, at a memorial ceremony later in the day, Interfax reported.


The Russian president was also due to hold a separate meeting with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan later Friday, the report added.


"The position of Russia has been and remains objective and consistent: There can be no justifications for an ethnically motivated mass killings. The international community must do everything to ensure that such atrocities are never repeated anywhere," Putin said Wednesday in a statement on the Kremlin's website.


"New generations of Armenians and other peoples of the region should live in peace and accord, free from the horrors that result from provocation of religious antagonism, aggressive nationalism and xenophobia," the statement added.


Friday marks 100 years since the Ottoman Empire embarked on a series of massacres and deportations of its ethnic Armenian community that resulted in the deaths of more than one million people.


According to some historical accounts, Ottoman leaders accused Armenians -- a Christian community of some two million living in what is modern-day eastern Turkey -- of sympathizing with Russia, the empire's World War I foe.


Russia is one of just 21 countries to officially recognized the Armenian genocide, according to the Armenian National Institute. Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, vehemently rejects the term "genocide" to describe what happened to its Armenian population during World War I.


Putin was also due to meet with his French counterpart Hollande on the sidelines of the memorial event in Yerevan, Interfax cited Ushakov as saying. The two leaders are expected to discuss the crisis in Ukraine as well as a contract dispute over the supply of two French-made Mistral warships to Russia, the Moscow Times reported.


===============R.H.

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