Armenia

Armenia’s NA Speaker Alen Simonyan Calls for Withdrawal of Russian Border Guards from Zvartnots Airport

YEREVAN — Parliament speaker Alen Simonyan on Tuesday criticized Russian border guards and military personnel deployed in Armenia, saying that they do not protect his country against Azerbaijani attacks.

The border guards have for decades been stationed along Armenia’s borders with Turkey and Iran as well as at Yerevan’s Zvartnots international airport. During and after the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh, they were also deployed, along with Russian army units, to some sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

Simonyan indicated that the Armenian government now wants them to leave Zvartnots, he called for Russian withdrawal from the airport.

“We will defend the borders of our country, but I’m not sure they will defend the borders of our country,” Simonyan told reporters, clearly referring to not only the border guards but also Russian troops. “It was proved on a number of occasions that they didn’t protect [Armenia] and even did everything to make those borders much more vulnerable.”

Simonyan went on to point to the failure of Russian peacekeeping forces to prevent or stop last September’s Azerbaijani military offensive that forced Nagorno-Karabakh’s practically entire population to flee to Armenia.

“What did they do in Nagorno-Karabakh? They escorted the Armenian population out [of the region] … One day they could also escort me and you out of Zvartnots,” he said.

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