Azerbaijan puts Russian lawmaker on wanted list

Russian State Duma member Mihail Delyagin had said Azerbaijan should be punished for recent actions in Nagorno-Karabakh and said a nuclear strike on the Azeri oil industry should be considered.

Flag of Azerbaijan (photo credit: REUTERS)
Flag of Azerbaijan
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Azerbaijan has put Russian State Duma member Mihail Delyagin on an international wanted list through Interpol, opening charges against him following his statements against Baku's actions in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

A number of charges were placed by the Azeri Prosecutor General's Office, such as incitement, and Baku has asked a number of allied countries to detain the lawmaker should he enter their territory.

Delyagin on Tuesday spoke to the Russian state TV channel Channel 1 and called for Azerbaijan to be punished for recently reported actions in Nagorno-Karabakh, a region disputed by Azerbaijan and Armenia over which multiple conflicts have been fought.

On Thursday, Azeri forces crossed the line of contact near the village of Parukh in the de facto Republic of Artsakh, entering the village of Khramort. On Friday, an Azeri Bayraktar TB2 drone carried out a strike against forces belonging to Artsakh.

The Republic of Artsakh is a de facto republic internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. In 2020, the area where the republic is situated was recaptured by Azerbaijan.

 A view shows divided Taghavard village in Nagorno-Karabakh region (credit: REUTERS) A view shows divided Taghavard village in Nagorno-Karabakh region (credit: REUTERS)

Russia accused Azerbaijan of violating the ceasefire with its recent actions.

This, in turn, was reflected by Delyagin's comments. 

Azerbaijan needed to be punished for its aggression, he said on Channel 1, and even went so far as to say the use of nuclear weapons on the Azeri oil industry should be considered. Later, Delyagin took to his Telegram channel and conducted a poll on nuking Azeri oil.

This sparked outrage in Azerbaijan, but the lawmaker also faced backlash from the Kremlin.

Russian presidential press secretary Dimitry Peskov urged Delyagin to control himself and not make "unfriendly" remarks about Azerbaijan, which is still considered by Russia to be a "partner state," TASS reported.

Delyagin's remarks "in no way reflects the official line of the Russian Federation," Peskov continued, adding that these statements come as Russia is working to make peace in the region.

Delyagin did later apologize for his remarks but specified that much of his outrage was directed to a part of the Azeri government and bureaucracy, specifically noting how despite Russia's Defense Ministry reported that Azeri troops had returned to the pre-March 24 positions, they in fact did no such thing.

In response to Azerbaijan's move, Delyagin said he never called for the country to be bombed, nuclear or otherwise, and said the Prosecutor General's Office's decision was "a journalistic mistake," TASS reported, citing Delyagin's Telegram.

Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.