"It's unacceptable for the peacekeepers to be silent witnesses" - Pashinyan
Pashinyan on the mandate of Russian peacekeepers
“If Russia is unable for whatever reason to ensure stability and security in Nagorno-Karabakh, it should initiate a discussion in the UN Security Council, and raise the issue of giving the peacekeeping forces a mandate from the Security Council or sending an additional multinational contingent of peacekeeping forces to Nagorno-Karabakh,” the Prime Minister of Armenia said at a government meeting.
This is not the first speech by Nikol Pashinyan with an assessment of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh in regarding the blocking of the Lachin corridor and criticism of the Russian peacekeepers over not fulfilling their duties.
The Prime Minister recalled that the blocking of the only road connecting NK with Armenia is not the first case of Azerbaijan’s invasion of the peacekeeping contingent’s zone of responsibility. According to Pashinyan, Moscow should give an official assessment of the situation and announce what its plan is to restore movement in the corridor.
“Russia has taken on specific security obligations”
Pashinyan recalled the provisions of the tripartite statement of November 9, 2020 on the cessation of hostilities in NK, signed by the heads of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, saying that “Azerbaijan and Russia have assumed specific obligations” to ensure unhindered movement along the Lachin corridor. He demanded a clear explanation from Russia and the peacekeeping forces stationed in Nagorno-Karabakh:
“How does Russia assess the situation, what is its plan and roadmap for restoring movement along the Lachin corridor? Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are waiting for answers to these questions from Russia, which is also a permanent member of the UN Security Council.”
According to the Pashinyan, these issues require an urgent response, since “there is every reason to believe that Azerbaijan is preparing another military provocation, including in Nagorno-Karabakh.”
“Armenia is a supporter of the presence of peacekeepers”
Pashinyan maintained that Armenia is a “staunch supporter” of the presence of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“But the position of the peacekeeping contingent to be silent witnesses to the expulsion of Armenians from NK, which is becoming more and more obvious, is unacceptable to us,” he added.
Pashinyan believes that Armenia should work closely with Russia and other international partners to clarify these issues, prevent further escalation, and achieve a “comprehensive settlement.”
Immediately after Pashinyan’s speech, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced that “criticism of the peacekeepers is unacceptable.”
“We have repeatedly said that the Russian peacekeepers are doing everything possible to resolve the situation on the ground. No public attacks help the cause, the situations were worse. We are working to improve this situation,” she said.
On Azerbaijan’s explanations
Pashinyan said that statements disseminated by Azerbaijan on international platforms that the Lachin corridor is actually open “have nothing to do with reality.” He considers the blocking of the road a flagrant violation of the tripartite statement:
“Even if we rely on the propaganda version of Azerbaijan that the corridor was blocked by eco-activists, according to paragraph 6 of the statement, ensuring the safe movement of citizens, vehicles and goods along the corridor, is the direct responsibility of Azerbaijan.”
He also touched upon other issues with respect to a resolution of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations. Pashinyan reaffirmed Armenia’s “readiness and determination” to sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan, complete the border delimitation process, and unblock roads.
"Azerbaijan creating pretexts for the resumption of war." Opinion from Yerevan
In parallel with the blocking of the Lachin corridor in Armenia, the Armenian Defense Ministry reports that after midnight, Azerbaijani units opened fire in the direction of Armenian positions near the village of Kutakan, Gegharkunik region.f
“A working group for assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh is being created”
A working group will be headed by Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Khachatryan, and will include the ministers of health, labor and social protection, territorial administration and infrastructure, and representatives of other government agencies.
The Prime Minister of Armenia stated that he made this decision in order to support the people living in Nagorno-Karabakh and to overcome the humanitarian crisis.
“The task of the group will be to monitor humanitarian issues with the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh and provide the necessary urgent support, including with the help of international organizations.”
Given the humanitarian situation in NK, the Armenian government will provide additional assistance in the amount of 4 billion drams ($10 million).
Pashinyan on the mandate of Russian peacekeepers