Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Saturday issued a congratulatory message on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the formation of the Armed Forces of Armenia. The message notes as follows:
Servicemen of the Armenian Army, reservists, generals, officers, mandatory and contract servicemen,
Today we celebrate the 31st anniversary of the formation of our army and first of all we commemorate the memory of our martyrs who gave their lives for the Motherland.
Despite all the difficulties, they are the ones who inspire us and fill us with the understanding that our struggle for statehood, for sovereignty, independence and security cannot fail if there is dedication, if there is faith.
Today, thousands of devotees serving in the Armenian army are serving the Republic of Armenia, independence, sovereignty, and statehood, and we will do everything to change the quality of their service - change the quality of service they provide, change the quality of service provided to them.
This is the reason why the government has undertaken large-scale reforms in the army, the purpose of which is to make every soldier, every officer more capable and professional, and at the same time, more well off.
At the basis of these reforms are the reforms of military education, which are also in the stage of implementation. Currently, we are also undertaking the establishment of an officer high school, which, in our opinion, will be an educational center meeting the best modern standards and will become a forge for the formation of a new class of officers.
In the near future, we are planning to introduce a completely new institute of women's voluntary temporary military service in the Republic of Armenia, and today I have to say special words of appreciation to our sisters who perform contractual service in our army, including combat service.
The process to replace the three-month training camps with one-month or 25-day training camps is underway, because the reservist's combat ability is just as important as that of those in regular military service.
We are taking measures to equip our army with modern weapons and equipment, trying to encourage local producers as much as possible.
The defense budget for 2023 has more than doubled compared to 2018, and I also want to thank all of our taxpayers who, with their work and law-abiding behavior, make possible the implementation of reforms in security and other areas.
But the reform process is not going smoothly in the army either, because the unstable security environment brings new challenges that sometimes incite big mistakes.
The tragedy that took place on January 19 in Azat village of Gegharkunik region, which took the lives of another 15 of our children, is suffocating us. And I want to apologize to the parents and relatives of all the soldiers who fell victim to the monstrous fire. I also apologize to all those parents whose children in the army became victims of non-statutory relationships, impermissible relationships and situations that arose as a result of omissions and mistakes made by the state or government.
At the same time, I kneel before the parents and relatives of our soldiers, officers, volunteers who fell in battle while defending the Motherland. I express my gratitude to all those families who have the consciousness that for the sake of the Motherland-State, for the sake of civic duty, nothing can be spared. States are built on this perception and consciousness.
And finally, I would like to thank all those servicemen, from privates to officers and generals, who selflessly render service to the Armenian Army and the Armenian state.
I send fraternal greetings to our brothers and sisters who spend Army Day in combat positions sometimes surrounded by several meters of snow.
The sun will rise, spring will come. Happy Armenian Army Day!
Long Live Freedom,
Long live the Republic of Armenia,
Long live our children who will live in Free and Happy Armenia.