Following their meeting in Kyiv on 14 January, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, signed a Joint Declaration and a number of other bilateral documents aimed at deepening the strategic partnership between the two nations.
The President of Ukraine invited Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Ukraine for a working visit at the Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels on 15 December, 2021. During this visit, the two presidents held a tête-à-tête meeting at the Marinskiy Palace to discuss issues concerning the development of relations between the two countries in various fields.
Following the tête-à-tête, the two leaders continued the Ukraine-Azerbaijan talks in an expanded format, with both countries’ delegations present. At the conclusion of talks on energy, infrastructure, transportation, military-technical, agricultural-industrial cooperation, and other issues, President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, signed a Joint Declaration on the deepening of the two countries’ strategic partnership, as well as six memorandums of understanding on cooperation in the fields discussed in the meeting.
At a joint press conference following the meeting, President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that the signed agreements testify to the unity and closeness of the views of Ukraine and Azerbaijan on a wide range of regional and global issues.
In addition, Zelensky stated, “We have signed the Joint Declaration of the Presidents of Ukraine and Azerbaijan. It enshrines readiness to provide mutual support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our states within internationally recognized borders, joint counteraction to hybrid threats, the desire to ensure peace and stability in the Black Sea-Caspian region and beyond.”
President Ilham Aliyev began his press conference statement by thanking Ukraine for the invitation and their hospitality. Aliyev noted that Ukraine and Azerbaijan have had mutually beneficial relations for many years and that he is confident that cooperation would increase in all fields following this visit.
The agreements signed, according to Aliyev, will strengthen bilateral relations. Aliyev stated that the two countries’ partnership is based on deep friendship and that they are ready to cooperate with Ukraine in all fields. Aliyev then went on to say, “I believe we will soon hear very good news as a result of the meetings and decisions we made in Kiev. When we meet again in Baku two months from now, we will begin to see the fruits of the seeds we planted in Kiev.”
The fact that Ukraine and Azerbaijan, which gained independence in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, had one of the most productive interactions in their 30-year state relations, as well as Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev’s official visit to Kyiv for the first time since the eruption of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014, made a big impression on Russian media.
While the Russian press speculated that the two countries’ improving relations could be explained by Aliyev acting as a mediator between Putin and Zelensky in order to find a solution to the Ukraine crisis, some Russian analysts speculated that Azerbaijan’s rapprochement with Ukraine may have occurred due to concerns that a situation similar to Russia’s military intervention in Kazakhstan under the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) could be used by Armenia against Azerbaijan.
In any case, Kyiv and Baku have long had close and amicable connections. Ukraine supported Azerbaijan even during the most critical moments of the Karabakh War in the 1990s. With these agreements, the two nations will take their cooperation to a new level, paving the way for Azerbaijan’s and Ukraine’s economies to grow.