Accounts of Putin-Aliyev phone call don’t line up – congratulations over coronavirus vaccine or reproach for weapons supply?
Did Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev call Russian President Vladimir Putin to congratulate him for creating a vaccine against the coronavirus or to reproach him for supplying weapons to Armenia?
A telephone conversation between the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan on August 13 has become the subject of controversy on social media, since official Azerbaijani and Russian sources report entirely different stories.
The Kremlin says that Ilham Aliyev congratulated Vladimir Putin on the world’s first coronavirus vaccine being registered in Russia, and then an “exchange of views” took place on the sharp escalation on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia on July 12-16.
The Kremlin’s announcement does not say what kind of views were voiced on both sides.
Azerbaijani official sources also released a statement about the conversation. But it doesn’t mention the coronavirus vaccine at all.
It reported that the reason for Ilham Aliyev’s call to Putin was “the intensity of deliveries of military cargo from Russia to Armenia after the end of clashes on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, from July 17 to the present.”
President Aliyev gave a specific figure for the volume of military cargo being transported — over 400 tons. He also said that it is being transported through the airspace of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran.
“[This supply] raises concerns and serious questions among the Azerbaijani public,” the official statement on the telephone conversation said.
In discussions on social media, many Azerbaijani experts say that it is very rare for official accounts to differ so greatly and that the Azerbaijani side uses such a sharp tone.
Some confusion was also caused by President Aliyev’s decision to ask Putin questions a month after the events on the border.