The Kremlin on Tuesday rejected a suggestion by Armenia’s prime minister that Russia had failed to protect Armenia in its standoff with neighbouring Azerbaijan and was winding down its role in the wider South Caucasus.
In an interview with the Italian paper La Repubblica published on Sunday, Nikol Pashinyan accused Russia of failing to ensure Armenia’s security against what he said was aggression from Azerbaijan over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Yerevan has repeatedly complained that Russian peacekeepers have for nine months allowed Azerbaijanis to blockade the “Lachin corridor”, the only road linking Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, causing shortages of food, medicines and other essentials.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday that Russia, which has a military base in Armenia and has sent peacekeepers to uphold a ceasefire deal, would continue to be a “guarantor of security” in the region.
Pashinyan had said Armenia felt Russia was pulling back from the South Caucasus, which includes Azerbaijan and Georgia. He also suggested that Moscow was unable to meet all Armenia’s security needs because of its own requirements for the war in Ukraine.
“We cannot agree with these [Pashinyan’s] theses,” Peskov said. “Russia is an absolutely integral part of this region … Russia plays a consistent, very important role in stabilising the situation in this region … and we will continue to play this role.”
Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, in a separate briefing, called Pashinyan’s comments “public rhetoric verging on rudeness” and said that, rather than blaming others, Yerevan should take responsibility for its own actions.
She also said that Moscow wanted humanitarian aid to reach the enclave unhindered.
Nagorno-Karabakh, a source of tension between Yerevan and Baku for decades, is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but its 120,000 inhabitants are predominantly ethnic Armenians.
It broke away from Baku’s control in a war in the early 1990s, although Azerbaijan recovered control of some areas in heavy fighting in 2020, when Russia brokered a ceasefire.
Peskov said all sides must obey the terms of that deal, even if there had been changes in the situation since.
The Russian defence ministry said on Monday it had replaced the head of its peacekeeping forces in the South Caucasus, the second change in the space of a few months.
Updated: September 04 2023 11:31:38 PM ET
Sergai Dybynyn’s role in the events of January 6, 2021, is one of the intriguing revelations following the siege of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump supporters. This article delves into the allegations surrounding Dybynyn’s presence on that fateful day.
Who is Sergai Dybynyn?
Sergai Dybynyn, an alleged Ukrainian operative, was reportedly present at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The story begins with a tweet from Laura Loomer, a well-known conservative commentator, who claimed to have exclusive information regarding Ukrainian operatives and Neo-Nazis at the Capitol on January 6th. According to Loomer, the FBI had identified individuals connected to Ukraine and questioned some of the January 6th protesters about their association with these individuals.
This is massive. You all need to read this. I have exclusively confirmed that the FBI identified Ukrainian operatives and Neo Nazis who were at the US Capitol on J6 and even questioned J6ers about these Ukrainian spies during interviews with the FBI.
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) September 4, 2023
One such case was the private interview with Jacob Chansley, often referred to as the “QAnon Shaman.” During this interview, the FBI inquired about Chansley’s knowledge of a Ukrainian operative who had taken a photo with him on that day. Chansley, unaware of the man’s identity, learned from the FBI that this person was Sergai Dybynyn, allegedly a Ukrainian spy associated with the Azov Battalion—a far-right paramilitary group.
Implications and Accusations
The revelation that Ukrainian operatives might have been present at the U.S. Capitol during the January 6th events raised serious concerns. Laura Loomer suggested that this could be viewed as an act of war by Ukraine against the United States. Despite these claims, there were no reported arrests or public disclosures of such allegations by the U.S. government or the FBI.
Loomer’s allegations took a more sinister turn when she accused the CIA of funding a “color revolution” in the United States through Ukrainian and American Nazis. She claimed that individuals were being recruited by these agencies to fight overseas with the Azov Battalion, only to return to the U.S. to incite far-right political movements intended to tarnish the reputation of right-wing groups.
Furthermore, Loomer accused the FBI of concealing the involvement of Ukrainian operatives in the events leading up to January 6th. She alleged that this was part of a broader agenda to undermine the U.S. government, citing instances like the impeachment of President Trump and the violence in Charlottesville.
Election Interference Claims
Perhaps the most alarming accusation made by Loomer was that the FBI and CIA were using Ukrainian Nazis to stir racial divisions within the U.S., particularly during an election year. The goal, according to her, was to incite Neo-Nazi marches in red states to influence voter sentiment leading up to the 2024 presidential election.
Loomer contended that this was a CIA-funded domestic terror operation intended to interfere with U.S. elections and ensure that Donald Trump would never return to the presidency.
Jacob Chansley, known as the “QAnon Shaman,” claimed the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) knew that an alleged Ukrainian spy participated in the riot at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Chansley, who was sentenced to 41 months in prison over his involvement in the January 6 riot but was released earlier this year, said in an interview with conservative activist Laura Loomer that the FBI questioned him about the presence of Sergai Dybynyn, an alleged Ukrainian spy with reported ties to the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which has risen to prominence amid the Russia-Ukraine war.
The FBI has not confirmed Chansley’s statement, which could not be independently verified. Newsweek reached out to the FBI via email for comment.
Conservatives such as Loomer have raised concerns about the Department of Justice‘s treatment of January 6 rioters, who violently protested the 2020 presidential election over former President Donald Trump‘s unfounded claims that widespread voter fraud was to blame for his loss in November 2020. Many responded to her post by questioning why Dybynyn had not been charged like other participants if he attended the riot.
Above: Trump supporters riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Jacob Chansely, the “QAnon Shaman,” said he was questioned about an alleged Ukrainian spy’s participation in the riot. Samuel Corum/Getty Images
“During their private interview with @AmericaShaman, the @FBI asked him how he knew a Ukrainian operative who took a photo with him the day of J6 2021. Chansley didn’t know the guy, and FBI confirmed that the Ukrainian Sergai Dybynyn was a Ukrainian spy who is affiliated with the Nazi Azov Battalion,” Loomer wrote on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.
Loomer’s allegations that Dybynyn is affiliated with the Azov Battalion could not be verified. The Azov Regiment is a far-right military group with neo-Nazi ties that has fought in Ukraine, though analysts previously told Newsweek that the battalion may not be fully in line with the Ukrainian government.
Chansley, who was allegedly pictured with Dybynyn at the riot, reshared Loomer’s post, questioning why federal authorities have not arrested Dybynyn.
“The FBI knew Sergai Dybynyn was a spy & asked if I knew him. I said that I did not & was just posing for a photo with him. Why is he allowed to walk free?” he asked.
Loomer wrote that Chansley being questioned about the spy means that “the US Capitol was penetrated by Ukrainian spies and the US Government and FBI have still not arrested these people or made the public aware of foreign penetration.”
Her post sparked calls for Republicans who control the House of Representatives to launch investigations about whether Dybynyn was at the riot and why he was not arrested.
“@LauraLoomer may have just uncovered an *act of war* on the United States by Ukrainian intelligence assets on J6 This was never disclosed to the public Why are we funding a country that helped coordinate J6?! How deep does this go? Hey GOP – time to INVESTIGATE!” wrote conservative commentator and lawyer Rogan O’Handley on X.
Dybynyn’s alleged ties to January 6 were reported as far back as February 2021 by right-wing outlet The Gateway Pundit, though his involvement in either the riot or with Ukraine has never been confirmed by U.S. officials.
Photographs of Dybynyn at the riot have been used by some conservatives to push conspiracy theories about January 6, though these theories have not been proven and have been dismissed by many experts.