Protests Against Prime Minister Continue in Armenia
Anti-government protests continued today in capital Yerevan’s main square where some of the protesters of Tuesday’s mass rally set up camps outside government buildings.
Opposition groups and their supporters demand Pashinyan to resign over what they called was a mishandling of the recent six-week war in Nagorno-Karabakh war unleashed by Azerbaijan. Moscow-brokered peace truce ended with thousands of human deaths as well as large territorial and cultural heritage losses for Armenia.
The opposition leaders announced today that they are going to block entrances of government buildings tomorrow to prevent Pashinyan to hold a cabinet sitting. Ishkhan Saghatelyan, leader of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation was summoned to The Investigative Committee of Armenia today over his statements ‘constituting a call for a crime’, Saghatelyan wrote on Facebook.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Pashinyan announced that he has no intention to resign.
Negotiations Over a New Russian Military Base in Armenia Needed, Opposition Leader Says
After his visit to the Syunik region, Edmon Marukyan, the leader of opposition Bright Armenia party confirmed today that “the positions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces came unacceptably close to the borders.” He said that urgent discussions are needed over the deployment of a new Russian military base in the region, ARKA news agency informs. “The war in Artsakh in 2020 seriously changed the geopolitical alignment in the South Caucasus,” Marukyan added.
Protests were also held in Armenia’s southeastern Syunik region where the residents blocked the highway preventing Prime Minister Pashinyan from entering the region. The protests started when the Defense Ministry ordered to hand over the Armenian advantageous positions to Azerbaijan dangerously exposing Armenian border communities to the Azerbaijani forces due to their close distance. Later the Minister of Defence announced that the security of Armenian southeastern borders will be guaranteed by Russian troops.
Following the protests in the southeastern region, two mayors were arrested over different accusations.
40,000 Armenians Left Homeless Due to the Recent Nagorno Karabakh War
“According to our data, we have 60 victims among the civilian population, 39 of them died directly during military actions as the result of targeted remote strikes, and 21 cases of murders of civilian in the territories controlled by the Azerbaijani side,” said Beglaryan who stepped down as Human Rights Defender of Artsakh on December 23.
Beglaryan said that at least four Armenian women held captive by Azerbaijan. “At the moment we have 40 missing or forcibly disappeared people. They were either killed or held captive in the Azerbaijani prison, Beglaryan said.
“Up to 40,000 people have been left homeless due to the Azerbaijani occupation of the Artsakh territories during the hostilities,” said Artak Beglaryan. He added that according to existing estimates, direct economic damage to Nagorno Karabakh as a result of the recent war may reach USD 2 billion.
Other News from Armenia
Office of the Prime Minister of Armenia informs that Nikol Pashinyan received Russian Minister of Emergency Situations Yevgeny Zinichev. Pashinyan noted the importance of the continuous development of strategic cooperation with Russia, emphasizing the key role of Russia in strengthening peace and stability in the region.
“Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a discussion related to the current issues on the international agenda and the joint statement signed by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia,” the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs.
European Union will support Armenia with an additional € 24 million in grants to fight against COVID-19 pandemic. “The EU's decision follows a positive assessment on progress in development of a Mid-Term Recovery Plan (MTRP), macroeconomic stability, public financial management and state budget transparency, in the frame of the COVID-19 Resilience Contract signed between the EU and the Government of Armenia,” Delegation of the European Union to Armenia informs.
Armenia's Public Services Regulatory Commission has given its approval today to the investment program by Gazprom Armenia national natural gas distributing company for 2021-2025, ARKA news agency informs.