Lavrov: ‘Russia Is Opposed to the Criminalization of Visits by Journalists or Other People to This Territory or Other Territories in Different Regions’
MOSCOW, Russia (A.W.)— Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters that Russia opposes and will act to prevent the extradition of Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin to Azerbaijan.
“We have contacted Mr. Lapshin through the consul. We know he is also an Israeli citizen and that Israeli diplomats have also contacted him. We will take all measures to settle the situation with full respect for the rights of the Russian citizen, who is also a citizen of Israel. We are working closely with Israelis in this regard,” Lavrov said.
Lapshin—who holds dual citizenship to Israel and the Russian Federation—was arrested on Dec. 15 in Minsk by the orders of Azerbaijan authorities for his visits to Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR/Artsakh) in 2011 and 2012. Azerbaijan has placed Lapshin on their blacklist and has opened a criminal case against Lapshin for “illegally” crossing the Azerbaijani border.
Lavrov’s statement, which came during a Jan. 17 press conference, was the first comments on the issue by a Russian official since Lapshin’s arrest.
“Russia is opposed to the criminalization of visits by journalists or other people to this territory or other territories in different regions. Moscow disagrees with the extradition to a third country of Russians detained abroad,” Lavrov said during the press conference.
The Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) of Armenia and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) “Nigol Aghpalian” Student Association held a protest at the Embassy of Belarus in Yerevan on Jan. 16, calling on Belarussian authorities to fairly and objectively approach the Lapshin’s detainment and to not give in to the demands of Azerbaijan.