By Elena Teslova
MOSCOW (AA) - Iran, Russia, Syria, and Türkiye are working on a new meeting at the level of deputy foreign ministers, Moscow said on Thursday
At a press briefing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Anadolu that as soon as the preparatory work is completed, the ministry will share the information about the date and place of the meeting, part of renewed contacts between Türkiye and Syria after years of estrangement.
The previous meeting was planned for March 16 in Moscow, but at the last moment was canceled due to "technical problems."
Turning to the situation in Ukraine, Zakharova called on international institutions and the world community to make a "principled assessment" of Kyiv's crackdown on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
She called the eviction of monks from the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery and similar plans for the Pochayevsk Lavra monastery "inhumane, spiritless arbitrariness, criminal acts."
She also criticized US Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling China's peace plan for Ukraine a "cynical trap."
"And the supply of weapons and the allocation of billions of dollars for the conduct of hostilities is not a cynical trap? ... The Ukrainian army is being driven to slaughter by their masters in Washington," she said.
Zakharova also condemned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asking the West to send long-range missiles and combat aircraft,
- UN Security Council helm
On Russia’s chairmanship of the UN Security Council in April, she said it plans to hold a meeting on April 10 about risks, provoked by the violation of agreements on the regulation of exports of weapons and military equipment.
The need to address the issue arose due to some countries’ non-compliance with contractual obligations prohibiting the transfer of bought weapons to third sides, she said, referring to supplies of arms acquired from Russia by some states and delivered to Ukraine in recent months, which she said was in breach of contracts.
Also, during its chairmanship of the UN Security Council, Russia intends to hold an informal meeting on the evacuation of children from the zone of the "special military operation," she said.
"We mean to inform our colleagues in detail about the measures that our country is taking to protect minors from shelling by the armed forces of Ukraine, to prevent other violations against children and their placement in safe areas," she stressed.
On March 17, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued warrants for the arrest of the Russian President Vladimir Putin and children's ombudswoman Maria Lvova-Belova for the alleged "deportation" of Ukrainian children.
Asked about political decisions of one of Russia's closest allies, Armenia, paving the way to join the ICC, Zakharova said Moscow expects to settle the issue "in an allied way."
"This topic is the subject of discussion during high-level contacts both in Moscow and in Yerevan. I do not consider it necessary to disclose the details of these contacts. Of course, we assume that this issue will be settled in an allied and mutually acceptable way," she said.
Addressing the situation in Karabakh, the spokeswoman called actions by the head of the EU monitoring mission on Azerbaijan's alleged plans to attack Armenia "destructive" and "unprofessional."
"These statements confirm the destructiveness of the EU's intentions and actions in the region. Brussels is not interested in establishing trust and rapprochement between Azerbaijan and Armenia. By their inept, unprofessional activity, they incite contradictions between Baku and Yerevan," she emphasized.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
In the fall of 2020, Azerbaijan liberated several cities, villages, and settlements from Armenian occupation after 44 days of intense fighting that ended with a Russian-brokered peace agreement.