Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addressed the nation.
He reminded that on December 12th, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces continued their offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh.
They attacked and took control of the Hin Tagher-Khtsaberd section in Artsakh’s Hadrut region.
According to Pashinyan this took place because Russian peacekeepers had not yet been deployed to that area.
“Please note that there was no civilian population in that area. Six servicemen of the Artsakh Defense Army were injured in action. We have information about other victims as well, which is being ascertained, because the given area is inaccessible at the moment, and measures are being taken to provide access.”
Armenia called a Security Council and Pashinyan asked that specific question: why the Russian peacekeepers weren’t there?
“Yesterday [December 13] I said at the Security Council meeting that it remained yet to be seen why the Russian peacekeepers had not been deployed to the Khtsaberd-Hin Tagher section by Saturday, but the fact is that the peacekeepers did so over the weekend. They have published an updated map of the zone under their responsibility, which comprises the area surrounding Khtsaberd and Taghavard villages.
What does this mean? This means that the peacekeepers of the Russian Federation must ensure that the status of the territory complies with the provisions of the trilateral statement of November 9. This in turn means that since the area was under Armenian control as of the 9th day of the month, it should therefore remain under the control of Armenian forces.”
In Pashinyan’s vision Baku’s actions are in two directions: attempting to cause a provocation, but also undermine the presence of the Russian peacekeepers.
“They tend to demonstrate that the peacekeepers are unable to stop the provocations, and the fate of the Khtsaberd-Hin Tagher section is the first serious test for the Russian peacekeeping mission.”
According to him this is asymmetrical, since Armenia cannot afford to undermine the peacekeeping effort.
Pashinyan also called for Azerbaijan to return Zangelan and Kubatlu districts, since they aren’t part of the peace deal, but 90% of them was under Azerbaijani control.
“But I would like to emphasize again that Armenia’s internationally recognized borders have remained and will remain intact at any stage of implementation of the November 9 statement, that is, the principle of inviolability of the borders of the Republic of Armenia cannot be questioned in any way, but all unresolved issues need to be addressed through calm and persistent work.”
Meanwhile, the protests in Armenia, the arrests of protesters and opposition figures continue and Pashinyan also addressed that, by refusing to resign, yet again.
“In addition to border security, we have been facing information security threats during these days. The well-known circles have initiated a process of information terrorism against Armenia and the people of Armenia. All kinds of false and half-false information are being disseminated in an effort to exasperate the feeling of anxiety in our citizens and sow panic in society.
It is obvious that the situation we are in is quite complicated, but I would like to state that our primary task is to reinstate stability and security in and around Armenia and Artsakh, and we are working in this direction on a daily basis. I have set a task for official media outlets to respond promptly and more comprehensively to the public’s concerns and provide better media coverage of the ongoing processes.”
He said that he wouldn’t resign, and that is because he is fighting against “forces” who wish to take away the decision-making ability of the Armenian people.
It is likely similar to how he is refusing to give up power and refusing the decision-making ability of the Armenian people.
“There is a lot of talk about my resignation, while I have clearly stated that I can give up the status given to me by the people only if there are reliable results of expression of people’s will. Otherwise, I will continue to perform my functions as Prime Minister and I have pledged to do it straightforwardly and honestly. I wish to emphasize once again that the number one task today is to stabilize the security environment around Armenia, and we will consistently follow this path.
Back to the domestic situation, I would like to stress that there are some processes going on, the purpose of which is to ban the people, the citizens of the Republic of Armenia in general, from decision-making and solve issues in closed rooms and within the “family circle” of political elites. This is unacceptable, and the people of the Republic of Armenia have been and will continue to be the owners of power in control of the situation in the Republic of Armenia. And I want to say that I consider myself the guarantor of that reality. The people should be assured that their will is decisive and irreversible in the Republic of Armenia. People should be given an opportunity to express their free will, and all attempts to circumvent that will are doomed to failure. I love you all. Thank you.”
In short, Pashinyan excused himself with the lack of presence of Russian peacekeepers protecting an area that’s empty of civilian population.
He also excused himself with the same presence of Russian peacekeepers explaining why Armenian or Artsakh forces can’t undertake any offensive actions against Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan maintains that these regions were liberated and that it was Armenia that carried out a provocation in them.
“The Armenian side committed provocative actions in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan, which were accompanied by a violation of the ceasefire.
The Armed Forces of Azerbaijan have taken adequate retaliatory measures.
Currently, the ceasefire regime is being observed,” the Azerbaijani defense ministry said.
The Azerbaijani side said that Armenia’s forces remaining in the areas it deems under its control are being given an ultimatum to leave, unharmed.
Finally, despite Pashinyan’s complaints and Azerbaijan’s presumed offensive, the Russian peacekeepers took control of the village of Hin Tagher.
There was no opposition from the Azerbaijani side.