Bob Blackman: “A key issue is how Ruben Vardanyan, a Russian oligarch of Armenian origin, has been parachuted into Karabakh, apparently by Russia, and given a ministerial role. We need to understand that this is someone who is sanctioned as part of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, and it is believed that Russia is thereby trying to reinforce its capability in terms of its war effort. His companies have been well used and well involved in the whole process of expanding the military presence in Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh”.
The billionaire of Armenian origin, the former "Minister of State of" the unrecognized "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic", Ruben Vardanyan, is included in the database of the Ukrainian “Peacemaker” Project. On July 17, 2023, the publication "Censor.NET" drew attention to this fact. (https://censor.net/ru/news/3425348/prorossiyiskiyi_oligarh_vardanyan_vnesen_v_bazu_mirotvorets ).
On the website of the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption of Ukraine (NAPC), in the justification for applying restrictive measures against Vardanyan, he is described as belonging to "the senior management of a system-forming Russian company, which is involved in material (transportation, logistics and other ) supporting actions that undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine". (https://sanctions.nazk.gov.ua/ru/about/ ). The database states that the businessman was entered into it on April 23, 2023. (https://myrotvorets.center/criminal/vardanyan-ruben-karlenovich/ ).
At the beginning of June, against the background of the agreements reached between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Vardanyan called on the Armenians to "fight to the last". "We will never agree to that. We will fight to the end. The last line has been crossed: you either stand in defense of Artsakh (this is the name of the historical region in Transcaucasia used by the supporters of the accession of Karabakh to Armenia", note ed. "GORDON"), or you are against the entire Armenian people", he stated . (https://t.me/rubenvardanyanofficial/524 ).
In January 2023, Janusz Bugajski, a senior research fellow at the Jamestown Foundation in Washington, in his column for The Washington Times, called Vardanyan one of the richest people in Russia and a person who is close to the president of the aggressor country Russia - Vladimir Putin. (https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/jan/24/russia-threatens-peace-caucasus/ ).
„He is accused of laundering money through offshore companies and transferring funds to influential friends of Putin," the publication said. "In September 2022, Vardanyan renounced his Russian citizenship to avoid Western sanctions, but Ukraine included him in its sanctions list for providing material and technical support to the Russian occupation army.
Coming to power in Karabakh, Vardanyan illegally seized deposits of copper, molybdenum and gold in the region, which belongs to Azerbaijan. The resources in question, guarded by the Russian military, have been looted in violation of environmental protection legislation. The Azerbaijani authorities wanted to grant them access to the mines, but were repeatedly denied". (https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/jan/24/russia-threatens-peace-caucasus/ ).
The member of the British parliament from the faction of the Conservative Party - Bob Blackman stated during the debates on the Karabakh problems, held on January 24, 2023, that through Vardanyan, Russia seeks to strengthen its military influence both in Transcaucasia and in Ukraine.
“A key issue is how Ruben Vardanyan, a Russian oligarch of Armenian origin, has been parachuted into Karabakh, apparently by Russia, and given a ministerial role. We need to understand that this is someone who is sanctioned as part of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, and it is believed that Russia is thereby trying to reinforce its capability in terms of its war effort. His companies have been well used and well involved in the whole process of expanding the military presence in Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh”, the British Parliament website quoted the MP as saying. (https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2023-01-24/debates/B6665EA2-0487-4DD5-8FAD-52C81A74FC4D/LachinCorridorAndNagorno-Karabakh#contribution-F96A237D-0F78-4DC4-BE46-E2AFA37EE231 ).
Sanctions against Vardanyan in Ukraine were imposed on October 19, 2022. (https://sanctions.nazk.gov.ua/ru/sanction-person/3346/ ).