Armenian PM Says Army Demand for His Resignation Amounts To ‘Attempted Coup’
Story Code : 918317
The controversial armistice agreement, brokered by Moscow and signed in December last year, gave Azerbaijan control over swathes of territory in the region that Armenians had de facto controlled since the 1990s. The military humiliation has seriously undermined Pashinyan’s authority in Yerevan and sparked a wave of protests.
As part of a joint statement issued on Thursday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces, as well as commanders of a number of large military brigades, said that the embattled PM should resign. “The ineffective management of the current authorities and the most serious mistakes in foreign policy led the country to the brink of death,” military chiefs wrote.
The move comes after Armenian President Armen Sarkissian dismissed the first deputy chief of the General Staff, Tiran Khachatryan, from his post at Pashinyan’s request. The politician had faced criticism from the general over his recent claims that Russian-made Iskander missile systems had failed during the war with Azerbaijan, or exploded in only 10 percent of cases.
“This is impossible,” Khachatryan argued. “Sorry, but this isn’t serious.”
Russia has also slammed the claims about the rocket system, which Pashinyan suggested was a “weapon of the 1980s.” Viktor Zavarzin, the deputy chairman of a committee on defense and security in parliament in Moscow, hit back, arguing that “the Iskander is a highly precise weapon, which has repeatedly been proved during military exercises.” Pashinyan’s insinuations, he argued, are “a complete lie.”
Interfax reported on Thursday morning that opposition activists had begun blocking traffic on a number of central avenues in the capital, as well as preventing metro trains from departing stations.
Pashinyan, who rose to power on a pro-Western agenda in 2018, has asked his supporters to take to the streets in Yerevan and gather at the Republic Square in the center of the city.