A person burns the Azerbaijani flag during the European Weightlifting
Championships opening ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia, on April 14, 2023. Armenian
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan speaks at the European Weightlifting
Championships opening ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia
After its national flag was seized and set ablaze during the opening ceremony of a weightlifting competition in neighboring Armenia, Azerbaijan issued a vehement complaint on Saturday. The athletes from Azerbaijan claimed it had become impossible for them to compete in the contest and that they had already left Armenia to return home via Georgia.
In response to the incident, the National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan issued a furious statement. It was captured on video and showed a man grabbing the flag and burning it ablaze.
They denounced it as a “barbaric act” and pointed to it as evidence of racial and ethnic hatred, claiming Armenia was unqualified to protect athletes and host world championships. Armenia disagreed, arguing that the problem was promptly rectified and there was no risk to athletes at the European Weightlifting Championships.
Since the Soviet Union, of which they were both a part, collapsed in 1991, ties between the two nations have been adversarial. Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountainous region accepted internationally as belonging to Azerbaijan but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians; they have fought two significant wars throughout that time.
Within the last week, violence claimed the lives of seven soldiers. As per reports from the Russian news agency, RIA Novosti, the lawyer of the guy responsible for the incident claims that his client has been freed without being held accountable.
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