Anger has risen in Armenia over the Karabakh peace deal

Several thousand protesters on Wednesday in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, over Prime Minister Nicole Pashinian’s decision to seize disputed territories for Azerbaijan under a controversial peace agreement.

In the early hours of Tuesday, Pashinian announced a Russian brokerage agreement with Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, ending weeks of fierce fighting that left more than 1,400 dead and tens of thousands displaced.

The peace deal sparked celebrations in Azerbaijan, but sparked outrage in Armenia, where protesters stormed government buildings and demanded Pashinian’s resignation earlier this week.

“This is our history, our culture, the souls we lose. Not to mention the useless sacrifices of thousands of our men who were killed or wounded,” said Jenny, a student in Yerevan.

More than 400 Russian peacekeepers were stationed on Wednesday in Nagorno-Karabakh, part of Azerbaijan captured by Armenian separatists during the 1990s war, where more than six weeks of heavy fighting erupted.

In Yerevan, police dragged protesters from a crowd of several thousand protesters calling the prime minister a “traitor” in front of government headquarters.

“You can not stop the whole country,” exclaimed Armenian Apovien, a member of the prosperous Armenian Party, cheering through a megaphone, mobilizing despite the ban on public meetings when martial law was in force.

Police said 135 people were detained and later released. One of them is opposition leader Gajik Charukian.

“Azerbaijan has won militarily, Armenia has suffered a severe defeat, but the humiliation cannot be a strong basis for lasting peace,” the International Crisis Group warned in a statement on Wednesday.

Clashes erupted between Azerbaijan and Armenian separatists in late September.

More than 1,400 people, including dozens of civilians, have been confirmed killed, but the actual death toll is believed to be significantly higher.

– Russian peacekeepers –

Speaking to wounded soldiers on Wednesday, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev accused Armenians of destroying “99 percent of the liberated territory”, including hospitals, houses and monuments, and said Armenia was seeking compensation.

“They will have to answer for the bad things they did,” he said.

In Armenia, Deputy Cultural Minister Narine Tukiyan voiced Yerevan’s own concern about the fate of historical, religious and cultural heritage in the occupied territory of Azerbaijan.

“We are very concerned because we have already seen the degradation and destruction of kutchers (traditional Armenian stone steels) by Azeris,” he told AFP.

The peace treaty stipulates that Azerbaijani forces will retain control of the occupied territories, including the second largest city, Shusha, while Armenia has agreed to a timetable for withdrawal from large areas of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Regional separatist leader Araik Harutunyan called on the fugitives to return and not to take part in the protests, saying the ceasefire was justified.

“We do not have enough resources, not enough reservists or volunteers,” he said, adding that despite his request, a special elite unit of Armenia’s security forces refused to fight at the front.

As part of the deal, a Russian force of 1,960 military personnel and 90 armored personnel will be sent to the region as peacekeepers for a renewable five-year mission.

The military said on Wednesday that 414 Russian troops and helicopters and military vehicles had arrived in Armenia, and that the peacekeeping force was now under control of the important Lachin transport artery that connects Armenia with Karabakh.

Sergei Rutsky, a Russian civil servant, said the soldiers had previous experience in humanitarian operations in Syria, where Russian forces were deployed in 2015 to support the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

To prevent further clashes, the military was in “constant contact” with the military leadership in Azerbaijan and Armenia, Rutsky said, adding that a total of 16 observation points would be established in the line of communication in the corridors of Karabakh and Lachin.

Azerbaijan has been pushing for Ankara’s involvement in a settlement, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying on Tuesday that his country would oversee a ceasefire with Russia.

Turkey, a staunch ally of Azerbaijan, has strongly supported Baghdad’s military intervention and has been widely accused by Western nations, Russia and Armenia of sending mercenaries from Syria to boost Azerbaijan’s army.

The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that the suspension of joint Turkish-Russian patrols had not been discussed.

The Highlands declared independence from Azerbaijan almost 30 years ago, but it was not recognized internationally, even by Armenia.

bur-hba-jbr-as / mbx / tgb

Check Also

House Speaker Johnson Continues to Push Forward on US Aid for Ukraine and Allies Amid Republican Oppositio

House Speaker Mike Johnson is in the spotlight as he faces criticism from fellow Republicans …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *