On April 12, a number of Armenian media outlets reported that the clash on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border – in the surroundings of Tegh village, was stopped by the efforts of the Russian Federal Security Forces referring to the statement of the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova.
Zakharova’s statement was preceded by the claim of Armen Khachatryan, deputy of the Civil Contract faction of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, that the ceasefire was reached due to direct negotiations between the representatives of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
On April 11, at around 4:00 p.m., a group of servicemen of the Azerbaijani armed forces opened fire on the servicemen and positions of the Armenian armed forces in the area of Tegh village of Syunik region. The Armenian side has 4 casualties and wounded.
Fact Investigation Platform examined what Zakharova and Khachatryan said about the issue, as well as how their words were quoted by the Armenian media.
What did the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry say?
In the morning of April 12, MP Armen Khachatryan told reporters that the ceasefire was made possible through bilateral negotiations.
“No, no mediation has taken place. [The fire] was halted as a result of talks and negotiations between the relevant representatives of the Republic of Armenia, the Ministry of Defense and their (Azeris-ed.) representatives,” he said.
On April 12, during a regular press conference, Maria Zakharova addressed the tension in Tegh village.
“Representatives of the armed forces of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation and the border guard service in the area immediately contacted the officials of Armenia and Azerbaijan and took measures to ease the tension. The incident reaffirms the need for mutual restraint between Baku and Yerevan, as well as the strict observance of tripartite complex agreements between the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia,” she said.
Later, in response to the question of an Armenian journalist who asked to comment on Armen Khachatryan’s claim, Zakharova said: “We do not belittle the direct work that the parties carry out. It is wonderful that the parties agree on the most complex issues. I have spoken about support, and perhaps this support for the resolution of the situation should be interpreted not only and not so much by individual representatives of political movements, but by the executive power, which is responsible for that matter. I may accept or not accept those qualifications, comment, etc., and as it is said, the more people, the more opinions.” In response to the journalist’s reaction that the author of the statement is the representative of the ruling party, Zakharova said, “Isn’t Armenia a democracy? Everyone has the opportunity to express their position there.”
Thus, while Zakharova did not directly confirm that Russia played a role in ending the reported tension in Tegh village, she implied it indirectly.
How the Armenian media quoted Zakharova
Media outlets Azdagir.am, 1in.am, Radar.am published Zakharova’s quote accurately, however in the headlines statements were attributed to Zakharova that she did not make. All three articles have the same headline: “Federal security service forces of the Russian Federation have stopped the clashes in the village of Tegh on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border -Zakharova.”
Another media outlet, Armtimes, again quoted Zakharova, however in the headline again mentioned something that Zakharova did not say directly: “The clashes in Tegh village were stopped with the intervention of the Russian border service forces – Zakharova.“