Putin warns Armenia to withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh agreement would be “suicidal” | World news

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Vladimir Putin says it would be “suicidal” for the Armenian government to renounce a Russian-brokered ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh war, as opposition forces in Yerevan protest the truce week and call for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.In an interview on Russian state television about the deal that aired Tuesday night, Putin was asked about a new government that might come to power and renege on the deal. “It would be a huge mistake,” he said.

The deal, which gave Azerbaijan significant territorial concessions after launching a bloody six-week war, was seen as a surrender in Armenia and sparked protests against Pashinyan’s government. The country’s president has called for early elections and his foreign minister resigned this week following a high-profile departure linked to the controversial deal.

The Armenian security services also said last week that they had prevented an assassination plot against Pashinyan involving an opposition politician and a veteran.

“A country at war or in danger of resuming hostilities, as it has always been in recent years, still cannot afford to behave in such a way, including in the area of ​​the organization of power, of to split society from the inside. I think this is absolutely unacceptable, counterproductive and extremely dangerous, ”Putin said.

Early on Sunday, September 27, Armenia announced it was declaring martial law, mobilizing its army and ordering civilians to take cover. She claimed that her neighbor, Azerbaijan, had launched a military operation in a breakaway region called Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan said it only attacked in response to Armenian bombing.Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as the territory of Azerbaijan, but has a predominantly Armenian population that has resisted Azerbaijani rule for over a century. In 1991, the region of about 150,000 inhabitants declared its independence and since then it has governed itself – with Armenian support – as the unrecognized Republic of Artsakh.

Nagorno-Karabakh, a landlocked mountainous region within the borders of Azerbaijan, was a source of strife before the creation of the Soviet Union. Tensions were quelled when Armenia and Azerbaijan were Soviet states, but they resurfaced with the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Communist Party’s control over the bloc.

A war between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces ended in a ceasefire in 1994, with Armenia having full control of Nagorno-Karabakh and other surrounding enclaves in Azerbaijani territory. Azerbaijan is predominantly Muslim and Armenia is predominantly Christian, and elements on both sides seek to translate the conflict into religious terms.

Michael Safi

Pashinyan said he did not plan to resign, but on Wednesday proposed a government roadmap to emerge from the crisis to “ensure democratic stability in Armenia.”

The 15-point plan includes assistance for the war-wounded, arrangements to return Armenian refugees to Nagorno-Karabakh and plans to modernize the army, all measures to attract those who say the government has failed. not done enough to protect the region. and its residents of Azerbaijan.

He also called for the resumption of the OSCE [the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] talks between Russia, France and the United States on the final status of the region, which Armenians call Artsakh. Ceasefire agreement does not indicate what will happen to Stepanakert, the region’s largest city, and other areas in Nagorno-Karabakh after a Russian peacekeeping deployment ends in five years.

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Putin has a complicated relationship with Pashinyan, who came to power in 2018 thanks to a wave of popular and non-violent protests in Armenia. But the Russian leader played down their differences by trying to hold together a truce that involves a entrenched conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Turkey’s growing regional ambitions, and the historic involvement of France and the United States.

Russia bolstered the rest when it sent nearly 2,000 peacekeepers to the region in its largest deployment to the South Caucasus in a decade.

The ceasefire agreement frees territories won by Armenia following a deadly conflict in the early 1990s. Tens of thousands of ethnic Armenians have left Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas as they prepare to change hands of territories. Many families loaded trucks with their belongings and some torched their homes as they left.

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