Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Yerevan, putting pressure on Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and demanding his resignation in connection with his signing a statement on Karabakh, AP reported.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called the deal a painful but necessary step that prevented Azerbaijan from taking over the entire Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Some 4,000 protesters marched across downtown Yerevan Wednesday chanting “Nikol, you traitor!” and “Nikol, go away!” Police detained scores of demonstrators at a smaller protest on Tuesday but didn’t interfere with the larger rally.
With the peace agreement signed by Pashinyan, a significant part of Nagorno-Karabakh was returned to Azerbaijan.
Russia dispatched nearly 2,000 peacekeepers for at least five years to oversee the peace agreement and facilitate the return of refugees. Russian troops will also ensure safe transit between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia through the Lachin region.
Speaking on Wednesday during a video meeting with the leaders of the CSTO countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Pashinyan for his personal courage in making painful but necessary decisions to end hostilities.
Pashinyan, in turn, thanked Putin for mediating in the peace agreement and hailed the Russian peacekeepers as guarantors of peace and security in the region.
Armenian opposition leaders hold Pashinyan responsible for failing to agree on an earlier cessation of hostilities on terms that could be more beneficial for Armenia. However, Artur Vanetsyan, a former head of the National Security Service who heads the opposition Homeland party, noted that the opposition did not insist on canceling the peace agreement.
“The current authorities that have suffered a complete failure must step down immediately and allow other political forces to try to at least improve the situation,” Vanetsyan said. “Pashinyan’s resignation would offer a chance to save our dignity.”
The Armenian health ministry reported on Wednesday that at least 2,718 Armenian servicemen were killed in 44 days of fighting. The Azerbaijani government said 94 Azerbaijani civilians were killed and more than 400 injured but refused to disclose the country's military losses.