March 26
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Reuters covered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Armenia in an article titled "In Russia's backyard, Pelosi condemns Azerbaijan's attacks on Armenia."

The authors noted that the U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday strongly condemned what she said to be Azerbaijan's "illegal" border attacks on Armenia, taking advantage of a visit to a Russian ally to pledge America's support for its sovereignty. 

Pelosi called her trip to Armenia, a piece of land the size of the U.S. state of Maryland sandwiched between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Iran, an attempt to bolster support for what she called a beacon of "democracy." 

Speaking in the ancient city of Yerevan, Pelosi said her trip was important in the wake of Azerbaijan's illegal and deadly attacks on Armenian territory, which sparked border clashes in which more than 200 people were killed.

 "We strongly condemn those attacks," Pelosi said along with Armenian Parliament Speaker Alen Simonyan, who last week expressed dissatisfaction with the Russian-led military alliance's response to Yerevan's request for help. 

Pelosi, who angered China with her trip to Taiwan last month, said it had become clear that the border fighting was caused by Azerbaijani attacks on Armenia, and that the chronology of the conflict should be obvious. The fighting was initiated by the Azerbaijanis, and that should be recognized, Pelosi said. This final apportionment of blame for the conflict goes beyond what the U.S. State Department has so far publicly noted. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern about the fighting and called for calm, but did not assign blame to any party. 

Armenia claimed that Azerbaijan shelled at least six Armenian settlements inside the border shortly after midnight on September 13, attacking civilian and military infrastructure with drones and large caliber weapons. Yerevan claimed this was unprovoked aggression. Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey, denies these claims. Baku claims that Armenian sabotage squads tried to mine Azerbaijani positions, prompting the soldiers to react. Armenia says this narrative is Azerbaijani disinformation. Azerbaijan did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Pelosi's statement. 

Russia, which has repeatedly condemned Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, considers the Caucasus its sphere of influence and resents what it calls U.S. interference in the region. 
Moscow, however, is concerned about the war in Ukraine, which has caused the biggest confrontation with the West since the height of the Cold War. 

Russia is Armenia's main military ally, with a military base in northern Armenia and peacekeepers along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh, over which Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a war in 2020

President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Russia has enough resources to mediate in the conflict. The last fighting ended with a cease-fire brokered by Russia. But after calls for help, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Russian-led military alliance of former Soviet republics that includes Armenia but not Azerbaijan, decided Tuesday to send a monitoring mission. The speaker of Armenia's parliament, Simonyan, said he was unhappy with the response, comparing the CSTO to a gun that doesn't fire bullets.

Speaking with Pelosi, U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone said that the United States wants to do everything possible to support Armenia's security more. The United States, Pelosi said, has listened to Armenia about its defense needs and said Washington wants to help and support Armenia in what she called the global struggle between democracy and autocracy. "We should be using our influence, our leverage showing that Armenian democracy and sovereignty is a priority," Pelosi said. "The velvet revolution was cheered globally."

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan came to power in 2018 after anti-government protests dubbed the Velvet Revolution in Armenia. Pelosi said it was interesting that Armenia was disappointed with Russia's response.

"It is interesting that they were disappointed they got fact finders and not protection from that relationship and we'll see what happens next," she said.

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