Armenia Blames Russia for Losing Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan
Armenia only has bitter words for Russia after Azerbaijan claimed the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh province during the weekend. Taking a swipe at Russia, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said the systems of external security in which the country is involved are ineffective.
Armenia, a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) which is a Russian-dominated group of six post-Soviet states, is displeased with Moscow and contemplating whether it can continue to be Yerevan’s ally. Pashinyan said it has become evident that the CSTO instruments of the Armenian-Russian military-political cooperation are insufficient for protecting external security of Armenia
But Russia says Pashinyan mishandled the crisis with Azerbaijan and stepped back because Armenia also recognizes the Nagoro-Karabakh region as part of Azerbajian. However, the Armenian prime minister now says that it isn’t up to CSTO, but Armenia. “It comes from the interests of the country’s external security, and taking such a decision is our sovereign right.”
Thousands of Refugees Cross into Armenia
The conflict has driven around 3,000 refugees into Armenia. Nagorno-Karabakh leaders expect 120,000 ethnic Armenians to leave as they don’t want to live under Azerbaijani control. But the Russian Peace Force in Karabakh said people in the region are not facing any pressure from Azerbhaijan. It said life is continues as normal in Khankendi (city).
There are fears of ethnic cleansing. On Sunday, the Armenian government said hundreds of refugees have been provided with government-funded housing. In a televised address, Pashinyan said many inside the enclave would see expulsion from the homeland as the only way out, unless Azerbaijan provided real living conditions and effective mechanisms of protection against ethnic cleansing.
David Babayan, an adviser to Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian leader Samvel Shahramanyan, said 99.9 percent of people want to leave their historic lands. “The fate of our poor people will go down in history as a disgrace and a shame for the Armenian people and for the whole civilized world. Those responsible for our fate will one day have to answer before God for their sins.”
What Happened between Armenia and Azerbaijan
The disputed Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as Azerbaijan’s territory but for more than three decades was being controlled and dominated by ethnic Armenians. Last week, Azerbaijan forces swept through this area wherein five Russian peacekeepers, and about 200 ethnic Armenians were killed. The Armenian forces declared a ceasefire on September 20 following a lightning 24-hour military operation by a larger Azerbaijan military.
Pashinyan-led Armenia government is now trying to develop international mechanism to protect the rights of people in Nagorno-Karabakh.