YEREVAN — In an interview with BBC World Service News Hour, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today, discussed the recent attack on Artsakh and Armenia from Azerbaijani and Turkish forces.
The Prime Minister first described the circumstances of the confrontation, stating that a few days ago Azerbaijan began bombing and shelling Armenian positions along the entire length of the contact line.
“We consider it a pre-planned aggression against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh,” said Pashinyan. “For three days, Azerbaijan has been keeping the settlements of Karabakh, civilians and civilian infrastructure under fire. Moreover, today the territory of Armenia itself is under fire, there are casualties among the civilian population and the military. Dozens of people were killed and hundreds were injured, ” the Prime Minister said.
He then stressed that Turkish instructors and officers are also directly involved in these battles. When asked where this information came from and whether there are facts confirming this, Nikol Pashinyan replied that an F-16 military aircraft is in the airspace of Nagorno-Karabakh at the moment.
“Turkey is a participant in the hostilities and does not even hide it. Today only two countries seek to resolve the issue by force – Azerbaijan and Turkey. Consequently, the very existence of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia is under threat, ”said the Prime Minister.
In response to President Erdogan’s claim that Armenia is aggravating the situation and creating a regional crisis, Nikol Pashinyan addressed the accusations by stressing that he is the author of the following formula for the settlement of the conflict: “The settlement should be equally acceptable for the people of Armenia, Karabakh and Azerbaijan. I am the first leader of Armenia who proposed such a formula,” Pashinyan said.
The News Hour reporter asked the Prime Minister why Armenia does not declare a unilateral ceasefire and proclaim that they do not want war, since the conflict has reached a more dangerous scale. “It is at this moment that the people of Nagorno-Karabakh are under the threat of death. If Nagorno-Karabakh does not fight, all the Armenians there will be simply destroyed, and this is not an exaggeration,” the Prime Minister replied.
The reporter referred to Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Great Britain, who also took part in the program and claimed that the Azerbaijanis are only fighting to return to their homes in Nagorno Karabakh.
The Prime Minister of Armenia stressed that in the entire world press, one can often find a mistaken perception that this is a supposedly territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. “This is an absolutely distorted perception. This is a matter of self-determination. The struggle of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh is a struggle for the right to live on their land,” he said.
The Prime Minister was also asked whether the Armenian government is disappointed by Russia’s lack of interference. “Russia is a strategic ally of Armenia, but now Russia is absolutely neutral,” Pashinyan replied.
The BBC reporter further pressed that Russia is now calling on Turkey for restraint, and asked whether it’s strange, given that Russia is an ally of Armenia, it is neutral and calls on the other country to be neutral.
“The international community should demand from Turkey to stay away from this conflict, since Turkish intervention only exacerbates the situation,” Pashinyan added.
The Prime Minister of Armenia noted that Russia, as the co-chair of the Minsk Group, must be neutral, but all three of the co-chairs, Russia, France and the United States, should not only act as supporters of stability and peace, but also make more active efforts towards this movement.