Thousands protest Armenian PM after truce with Azerbaijan
A senior Armenian official announced late on Wednesday a truce between Azerbaijan and Armenia who have been fighting for two days in border clashes over decades-old dispute concerning the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
"Thanks to the involvement of the international community, an agreement has been reached on a cease-fire," said Armen Grigoryan, Secretary of Armenia's Security Council, on Armenian state television.
The fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia has left around 160 military casualties in total from both sides, since it began on Tuesday. Armenia said 105 Armenian soldiers have been killed during Azerbaijani attacks, while Azerbaijan claimed 54 casualties.
Armenia's defense ministry had earlier said that shooting in border areas had stopped.
Officials from Russia's national assembly said the truce was clinched largely through diplomatic efforts by Russia, the pre-eminent military force in the region with 2,000 peacekeepers.
It was also Moscow that brokered the deal after the 6-week fighting in 2020, also known as the second Karabakh war which left more than 6 thousand killed from both sides. Ankara sided with Baku in the conflict, providing military support to Azerbaijan, which regained territories it lost to Armenia when the Soviet Union collapsed.
Large crowds protested Pashinyan
After the truce announcement, protests erupted in the capital city of Yerevan in Armenia and n Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, where thousands took to the streets to demand Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation over his comments that he was ready to sign a peace agreement with Azerbaijan.
Demonstrators chanted “Nikol is a traitor” and “Armenia without Nikol.”
At a parliamentary question-and-answer session, Pashinyan told lawmakers “we want to sign a document, as a result of which many people will criticize us, many people will curse us out, and many people will call us traitors. Maybe the people will decide to remove us from power.”
Wednesday’s comments appear to be the clearest suggestion yet that Pashinyan may be willing to cede the part of Karabakh remaining under ethnic Armenian control to Azerbaijan as part of a peace deal, Civil.net reported.
Pashinyan then clarified in a Facebook post that “no document has been signed or is going to be signed.”
President of the self proclaimed Artsakh Republic (Nagorno-Karabakh) Arayik Harutyunyan said he asked “the authorities of the Republic of Armenia that the interests and opinion of the people of the Republic of Artsakh must be taken into account in any signed document” relating to the region.