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12 Nov, 2020 13:27

Armenia agreed armistice with Azerbaijan to save soldiers’ lives, reveals embattled PM Pashinyan

Armenia agreed armistice with Azerbaijan to save soldiers’ lives, reveals embattled PM Pashinyan

Armenia had to agree a truce with Baku, or its 25,000-man army faced being completely surrounded and routed. That’s according to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who is under increasing pressure to explain why he ended the war.

In an address to the nation on Thursday, Pashinyan explained that the trilateral ceasefire agreement signed by Yerevan, Baku, and Moscow does not imply a final settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“When a situation arises when a soldier can no longer influence the situation, then he should not die in the name of his homeland, but the homeland should make sacrifices in the name of the soldier,” Pashinyan explained. “With this understanding, I signed the infamous document, understanding that my risk of dying is high, not only in the political, but also in the physical sense.”

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the prime minister announced that the country had agreed to end hostilities with Azerbaijan, following a bloody conflict which began in late September. After repeatedly claiming that Armenia was winning the war, he is now coming under attack for what many locals see as a surrender. As part of the settlement, Yerevan has lost control of parts of Nagorno-Karabakh, and Russian peacekeepers have been deployed along the contact line.

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According to Pashinyan, he knew that the peace deal would lead to public discontent, but he believes it was the correct choice to protect his soldiers.

“This happened after the General Staff of the Armed Forces reported that the war should be urgently stopped, and the president of Artsakh said Stepanakert [the largest city in Nagorno-Karabakh] could be lost within hours,” Pashinyan explained.

On Wednesday, over a thousand Armenian demonstrators, led by opposition leaders, took to Yerevan’s streets to protest the signing of the agreement. Protesters chanted “Nikol is a traitor,” while demanding he resign as leader of the country.

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