The secretary of the Security Council of Armenia, Armen Grigoryan, has emphasized that conscripts from Armenia will no longer be deployed to Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) for military service. In an interview with Armenpress, Grigoryan added that conscripts in Artsakh will continue being conscripted to military service in the Artsakh Defense Army. Below is the text of this interview
Mr. Grigoryan, there’s been much criticism recently saying that the Republic of Armenia is withdrawing troops from Nagorno-Karabakh [(NK)], thus leaving Nagorno-Karabakh undefended. How would you respond to this criticism?
During the war a number of units from the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia went to help the Defense Army of NK. After the establishment of the ceasefire and the deployment of the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation the withdrawal of the units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia from NK is logical.
But doesn’t this mean that Nagorno-Karabakh is indeed being left undefended?
No, because in the past the function of ensuring the security of NK was again being fulfilled by the NK Defense Army. And nothing is being changed in this regard. Although, it should be noted for the record that the deployment of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Nagorno-Karabakh should be a security guarantee.
But the events in Parukh [village of Artsakh] showed that this is not the case….
The events in Parukh were a gross violation of the 2020 November 9 trilateral statement and applicable international law. The Azerbaijani Armed Forces invaded into the area of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. The Russian Federation assured us that the invading Azerbaijani forces must withdraw, and we hope that the Russian peacekeeping forces will ensure the withdrawal of the Azerbaijani units that have illegally invaded into the area of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. The presence of the Russian peacekeeping forces in itself shows Russia’s accepting the fact that there is a real existential threat for the population of NK and the peacekeeping forces have a key significance in guaranteeing the security of the Armenians of NK.
Please clarify: Are the conscripted servicemen of the Armed Forces of Armenia in NK being replaced with contract (voluntary) servicemen or are the units of the Armed Forces of Armenia withdrawing from NK?
Let me clarify to be clear. Due to the war, a number of units of the Armed Forces of Armenia entered NK to help the Defense Army. After the establishment of the ceasefire they are returning to the Republic of Armenia. This process is nearing completion and will end in September. Regarding the Defense Army: it has been and continues to be in Nagorno-Karabakh.
This means that no conscripted servicemen from Armenia will be deployed in NK from September?
Yes. But according to information received from NK authorities the conscripts of Nagorno-Karabakh will continue serving in the Defense Army just like before.
What about contract [voluntary] servicemembers?
According to information received from NK authorities, contract servicemen will continue serving in the Defense Army just like before.
From Armenia also?
Contract servicemembers from Armenia are not deployed to the NK Defense Army. Upon necessity, NK is organizing the involvement of contract servicemembers on spot.