YEREVAN — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday accused Azerbaijan of trying to walk away from the Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement that stopped the Armenian-Azerbaijani war over Nagorno-Karabakh in November 2020.
Speaking the day after two Karabakh Armenian soldiers were killed and 19 others wounded in fighting with Azerbaijani forces, Pashinyan also urged Russia to do more to prevent further ceasefire violations. He said that Baku has been stepping up such violations despite the presence of Russian peacekeeping troops in Karabakh.
Pashinyan reaffirmed Armenia’s position that Russia’s peacekeepers in and around Karabakh “are a key factor in ensuring the security of Artsakh Armenians,” he also called out their apparent inability or unwillingness to prevent Azerbaijani incursions, citing a series of such incidents since the end of the war.
Those apparent failures “bring to light questions of a systemic nature” and “raise questions among the Armenian public about the purpose and essence of the peacekeeping operation,” he said.
“In these circumstances, it is becoming imperative to adjust details of the [Russian] peacekeeping operation in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Pashinyan told a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan.
“We expect that any attempt to cross the line of contact will be stopped by the peacekeeping troops of the Russian Federation,” he said.
Pashinyan added that it may be “necessary to take measures to establish that mandate (for the Russian peacekeepers) internationally, or to endow the peacekeeping mission with a wider international mandate.”
In his speech, Pashinyan said that Azerbaijan’s claim that it has constructed an alternate route and that sections of the Lachin Corridor, now monitored by Russian peacekeepers, should fall under its control is an excuse for Baku to launch a new round of fighting in the area.
“I must note that now there is no plan approved by Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in a tripartite format. We have made proposals several times and are still doing so. In other words, to approve a tripartite format plan. Note that the announcement is not about the construction of a new road, but about the construction plan and the redeployment of peacekeeping troops, which is a very complex and tripartite process. As of now, we have not agreed to any plan, because we have not been offered a draft of such a plan,” said Pashinyan.
Pashinyan accused Baku of attempting to undermine the facts enshrined in the November 9 ceasefire agreement.
He said these include the existence of the Nagorno Karabakh (NK) entity, the existence of a contact line in NK, and the existence of the Lachin Corridor guaranteeing the connection between NK and Armenia.