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On December 21st, in a sign of rare bravery, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan came out of the basement and decided to travel to Syunik.
He was to meet the citizens, show his supporter, and say that the demarcation of borders is not the tragedy that everybody believes it is.
He, regrettably for him, was met by reality.
Early in the morning inhabitants of Syunik got together in order to block the road leading to Syunik and to prevent Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan from entering to the territory of the region. There were clashes with the police.
He, finally arrived, and he immediately blamed former Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan for the demarcation situation.
Prime Minister Pashinyan, speaking with the residents of Syunik, said that border problems arise due to the fact that these borders were recognized back in 2010 by the government and parliament of that time.
That is, according to Pashinyan, now the Armenian forces are retreating to the borders that were accepted in 2010 when Serzh Sargsyan was in power.
If now the demarcation of the borders recognized in 2010 is considered a betrayal, then the very recognition of these borders in 2010 is a double betrayal, the prime minister said.
After several cities refused to accept him as wholeheartedly as he believed they would Pashinyan canceled the remainder of his trip.
He canceled his trip to Goris:
“I made sure that the road to Goris was blocked because the atmosphere in Goris, Kapan, Kajaran, Meghri is the same as in Sisian. We will not use force, especially on a day of mourning. We are returning to Yerevan,” Pashinyan wrote on his Facebook.
In one of the key events against him the priest of the Church of St. Grigor in Sisian refused to shake hands with Nikol Pashinyan and asked to leave the temple. Pashinyan heard the call and left.
On December 19th, Pashinyan took part in a mourning march for those that died in the war. Three days of mourning were announced in Armenia, but that didn’t stop protests calling for his resignation.
“The entire nation has been through and is going through a nightmare,” Pashinyan said in a video message before the march. “Sometimes it seems that all of our dreams have been dashed and our optimism destroyed.”
The opposition, labeled the 45-year-old leader a “traitor” for agreeing to end the war in November with a Russia-brokered peace deal that saw Armenia cede swaths of the Nagorno-Karabakh region to Azerbaijan.
The loss of land controlled by ethnic Armenian forces for more than a quarter of a century has angered Armenians, many of whom have been protesting against Pashinyan for weeks.
Many critics chanted “Nikol the traitor” as the prime minister’s convoy passed by, while some said he should have stayed away from the cemetery.
The Armenian Minister of Defense Vagharshak Harutyunyan strongly dismissed opinions claiming that the deployment of Russian border guards in the border with Azerbaijan at Syunik province is harming the Armenian sovereignty.
He noted that it does the quite opposite.
“The loss of sovereignty happens when security isn’t ensured. While the actions which strengthen security, strengthen both the state’s independence and sovereignty. Our top priority today is to ensure military security, which brings to the strengthening of our sovereignty and independence,” Harutyunyan said in an interview with Zinuzh Media.
Russian border guards are deployed in some parts of the eastern border of Armenia in the Syunik province amid ongoing delimitation and demarcation processes between Armenia and Azerbaijan following the Nagorno Karabakh war.
In his press briefing, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh risk their lives to restore peaceful life.
The military-political situation in the world remains difficult, there are high risks of aggravation in the Caucasus, Africa and the Middle East.
In Nagorno-Karabakh, the construction of a block-modular camp for the accommodation of 250 servicemen of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in the village of Stepanakert has been completed.
Currently, the commissioning of the engineering equipment of the camp is being completed.
The complete set of block-modular camp includes residential units, a gym, an officer’s house, a bathhouse, a first-aid post, a dryer, a clothing cleaning room, a leisure room, a headquarters and an office, a storage room, a canteen, a kitchen, a grocery store, sanitary modules, a room for storing weapons, engineering equipment.
The specialists of the International Mine Action Centre of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation continue work on demining the territory.
In total, during the peacekeeping operation in Nagorno-Karabakh, engineering units cleared more than 238 hectares of terrain and about 93 kilometers of roads, 423 residential buildings. More than 8.3 thousand explosive objects were found and neutralized.
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