After more than a year of wrangling with their Azerbaijani counterparts, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued an advisory to its citizens warning that “under the pretext of the unsettled Nagorno Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan’s border service continues to refused to permit entrance to persons, who exhibit direct or indirect hints that they might be of Armenian descent, independent of their citizenship.”

The March 13 advisory notes that the policy is justified by “impossibility to provide for personal security of such persons” while in Azerbaijan. “Repeat appeals of the Russian side to Azerbaijan stressing the inadmissibility of discriminatory actions on ethnic basis towards Russian citizens visiting the Azerbaijani Republic have been ignored.”

The Russian foreign ministry first took note of Azerbaijan’s ban on ethnic Armenians in mid-2017, reportedly after Baku refused to accept a Russian ambassadorial nominee because of his Armenian relatives. The Russian government called such treatment of ethnic Armenians “savagery.

According to the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, in 2018 16 Russian citizens were barred from entering Azerbaijan “on the basis of their ethnicity.” Zakharova claimed that Baku promised to “fix the situation,” but her Azerbaijan counterpart responded that it promised no such thing, calling Zakharova’s statement “provocative.”