The intensity of the shots fired by the Azerbaijani armed forces in the direction of Gegharkunik Province has decreased, the residents of the border villages live a normal life, and carry out agricultural work. Karen Sargsyan, Governor of Gegharkunik Province, told this to reporters Tuesday at the National Assembly of Armenia.
"It is clear that we have a neighbor—not a friend—across the border, who is in those positions, and the [local] people plan their lives accordingly. In recent times, no direct targeting of the [Sotk] settlement has been recorded. We have a school that Azerbaijanis are monitoring. I am sure that one day they will go back, regardless of their fortification work. I cannot say when, but one day Armenia will be impregnable with its borders," said Sargsyan.
According to the governor of Gegharkunik, the damages caused to this province’s border communities as a result of the September 2022 military aggression by Azerbaijan have been almost completely restored. There are four collapsed houses which cannot be restored now, and work is being carried out to assess the amount of damage. Compensation was given to the local residents whose livestock went over to the side of the adversary and were not returned.
"We did not conduct a monitoring on emigration from Gegharkunik, but it is unlikely that people have left [the province] due to security issues. The bulk of the Gegharkunik families who had left [the province] as a result of the September aggression have returned," emphasized the governor of Gegharkunik.
According to Sargsyan, the operation at the open part of the Sotk gold mine was supposed to be stopped in the coming months, but it was decided to stop the work now because of the Azerbaijani side.
"The Sotk mine is partially operational, the closed part is working," Sargsyan said.
The governor said that in the near future there will be a program in Gegharkunik Province where the latter’s residents will be able to take self-defense classes, and they were able to get weapons for self-defense in previous times as well.