Armenia’s assessment at the moment is that there is no direct threat to the civilian population of Nagorno-Karabakh, though the Armenian government has taken necessary steps to evacuate all those who would prefer to leave Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said in an address streamed live.
"First of all, we all know that the Lachin Corridor has been closed for 10 months, during that time and at this moment, the Armenian roads leading to the Lachin Corridor have not been closed for a single minute and continue to be so. In other words, there was no such topic. Let me say more. At the beginning of this week, I instructed to form a working group to meet possible groups of people displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh, to accommodate them, to ensure their living conditions. We did not announce this.
Moreover, we discussed different scenarios, what could happen, that the group could come, etc. We have booked hotel rooms and prepared several tens of thousands of accommodations. This was done earlier this week," he said.
Further, he said that Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Khachatryan informed him that we they have carried out preparatory works to accommodate around 40 thousand families in Armenia. "We don't want to talk about this, because we believe that the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh should live in their homes, in their homeland, in dignified and safe conditions. At this moment, our assessment is that there is no direct threat to the civilian population of Nagorno-Karabakh,” he said.
Nikol Pashinyan noted that now there are 1,200-1,300 citizens and children in the headquarters of the Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh, whom they are taking care of. "Of course, we are ready to take appropriate measures. The problem lies in the closure of the Lachin Corridor. Our humanitarian cargo is waiting in Kornidzor. We have information that about 10,000 people were invited to Stepanakert airport the day before, they were told to come because it is possible to move to Armenia. They were videotaped, after which they said that Armenia does not allow you to move to Armenia. Then those photos were published. It is obvious to me that this is being done to cause internal political upheavals and chaos,” he explained.
Pashinyan stated that Armenia does not pursue a policy of depopulation of Nagorno Karabakh, that policy is pursued by Azerbaijan. "One cannot suddenly be emotionally in a position where Azerbaijan will implement the policy of ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh through the hands of Armenia. This is a very important detail,” he said, adding that Russian peacekeepers continue to be in Nagorno-Karabakh and ensuring the safety of the civilian population is their direct responsibility.