In light of the unrest in Kazakhstan, Russia has deployed soldiers to the central Asian country, state news agencies reported on Thursday.
The paratroopers have been dispatched as part of a peacekeeping force, several Russian agencies reported Thursday, citing the Collective Security Treaty Organization, CSTO, a Russian-led military alliance of former Soviet states.
The military alliance had already declared overnight that it would comply with Kazakhstan's request for help.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan wrote on Facebook that the soldiers should be sent for a limited period of time to stabilize and normalize the situation in the country.
Kazakhstan had asked the alliance for help in restoring order after riots broke out during rare mass protests over high energy prices.
In response, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev removed the government before the military intervened in the city of Almaty on Wednesday night.
Tokayev called the riots "an undermining of the integrity of the state."
Dozens of people were killed in riots in Kazakhstan's economic metropolis Almaty, reports said Thursday.
People tried to raid several police buildings overnight, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry was quoted as saying by Kazakh television station Khabar 24, according to the Russian state news agency TASS.
Dozens of attackers were killed, according to the report.
Now their identities are being established, suggesting there may have been victims.
Internet sites belonging to the Kazakh media could not be accessed from outside the country on Thursday morning.
Therefore, the exact situation was not clear, so far, the authorities had only officially confirmed the deaths of eight policemen and soldiers.
So far no information on civilian casualties has been received.
On Wednesday night the military intervened.
Since then, operations have been carried out in various parts of the city of Almaty against the protesters, who are also reportedly armed.
Residents have been asked to stay in safe places and avoid the streets.
The biggest wave of protests in years was sparked by resentment over the significant rise in fuel prices at service stations in the oil and gas-rich former Soviet republic of more than 18 million people.
They turned into protests against the government.
dpa / NAN
An opposition leader in Armenia’s parliament, Gagik Tsarukyan, and several other prominent figures have been detained for organising mass protests against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, investigators said on Thursday.
Thousands of protesters gathered in central Yerevan on Wednesday after Pashinyan agreed to make significant territorial concessions to neighbouring Azerbaijan in a deal to end a bloody six-week flare-up between the two former Soviet republics.
A former vice speaker of Armenia’s national parliament, Eduard Sharmazanov, and a former head of Armenia’s National Security Service, Artur Vanetsyan, were listed among those detained.
“They have been accused of organising rallies in violation of the law,’’ the Special Investigation Service said in a statement.
“Armenia had forbidden rallies as it declared martial law amid the flare-up with Azerbaijan.’’
More than 1,000 people were reported killed in the flare-up for control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, which for decades has been largely occupied by Christian Armenian troops, but is considered by the United Nations as part of predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan.
Pashinyan agreed to the peace deal with Azerbaijan and regional power Russia after Armenian forces lost control of the strategically important town of Shushi – Shusha in Azerbaijani and Azerbaijan admitted to shooting down a Russian helicopter, killing two crew members.
According to the deal, Armenia was to cede control of significant territory in the disputed region, including the Agdam, Kalbajar and Lachin districts, and Russia was to deploy a peacekeeping force of almost 2,000 troops.
The recent fighting, which began in late September, was the deadliest between Azerbaijan and Armenia since a war in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Edited By: Halima Sheji/Obike Ukoh
Thousands of protesters on Wednesday gathered in central Yerevan, with many demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, following a peace deal that provided territorial concessions to neighbouring Azerbaijan.
The deal, through which Armenia formally lose control of several parts of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, ended a six-week fight between those former Soviet republics during which more than 1,000 people were reported killed.
Protesters shouted, “Nikol is a traitor,’’ on Liberty Square amid clashes with police. Armenian state media reported that more than 120 people were detained.
Pashinyan agreed to the peace deal with Azerbaijan and regional power Russia earlier this week after Armenian forces lost control of the strategically important town of Shushi – Shusha in Azerbaijani and Azerbaijan admitted to shooting down a Russian helicopter, killing two crew members.
According to the deal, Armenia was to cede control of significant territory in the disputed region, including the Agdam, Kalbajar and Lachin districts and Russia was to deploy a peacekeeping force of almost 2,000 troops.
Largely controlled by Christian Armenian troops for more than a quarter of a century, Nagorno-Karabakh is considered by the United Nations as part of predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has described its recent military engagement as intended to enable the return of ethnic Azerbaijanis to Nagorno-Karabakh.
The fighting, which began in late September, was the deadliest between Azerbaijan and Armenia since they fought a war in the late 1980s and early 1990s as they transitioned into independent countries amid the Soviet dissolution.
Edited By: Halima Sheji/Julius Enehikhuere
Turkey says a deal to end fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh region is an “important gain” for Azerbaijan.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made this known on Tuesday.
Azerbaijan has achieved an “important gain on the field and on the table,’’ Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter.
“We will continue to be one nation, one spirit with our Azerbaijani brothers and sisters,’’ he added.
The agreement signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia is set to end the deadliest fight since Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a war for control of the region in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Turkey has pledged full support to predominantly Muslim and ethnically Turkic Azerbaijan, accusing Armenia of occupying Nagorno-Karabakh, a region largely inhabited by Christian Armenians.
Although Nagorno-Karabakh is considered to be a part of Azerbaijan by the United Nations, it has been under the effective control of groups allied with Armenia for decades.
According to the news agency TASS, Russian peacekeepers would be deployed to the region as part of the agreement, reached by Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
Aliyev said Turkish peacekeeping troops would be deployed in addition to those sent by Russia. There was no immediate comment on this from in Ankara.
Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed/Sadiya Hamza
Armenia announced an extension of its state of emergency to 5 p.m. local time (1300 GMT) on July 13, the state-run Armenpress reported on Friday.
The decision was made at an emergency cabinet meeting on Friday, during which Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called on the public to make joint efforts to strictly follow the anti-pandemic regulations. Otherwise "overcoming the pandemic will become impossible," he said.
"Our long-term strategy should be to live with the coronavirus because no one knows how long it will be with us," he said.
The country's state of emergency was originally declared on March 16. This is the third time the Armenian government has decided to extend the order.
Armenia has lifted most coronavirus-related restrictions since May 4, in a bid to boost its economy.
Citizens are now permitted to go out freely, and restrictions on businesses have also been partly lifted, with restaurants, cafes and other stores resuming operation.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the country has reached 15,281 on Friday, according to the government.
Pashinyan said he did not have any symptoms and would continue to work from the prime minister's residence.
"I will work from here as much as needed, but of course, under conditions of isolation," he said.
The prime minister again urged citizens to always wear face masks and regularly disinfect hands.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the country reached 9,282 on Sunday, with 3,396 recoveries and 131 deaths, according to the Armenian government.
Armenian Justice Minister Rustam Badasyan on Thursday declared an extention of the country's state of emergency by 30 days, to June 13.
He said the government had made the decision to extend the state of emergency, originally declared on March 16, until 17:00 on June 13 at a cabinet meeting, according to a report by the state-run Armenpress.
Meanwhile, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said during the meeting that the lockdown will be re-imposed if coronavirus cases begin to overwhelm the healthcare system.
Since May 4, Armenia has lifted most coronavirus-related restrictions, in an effort to kick start the economy.
Citizens are now permitted to go out freely, while restrictions on businesses have also been partly lifted, with restaurants, cafes, and other businesses resuming operation,though public transportation remains suspended.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the country reached 3,860 on Thursday, according to the Armenian government.
Armenia on Tuesday halted its preparations for a referendum on removing judges from its Constitutional Court, which had been planned for April, due to coronavirus pandemic, state media reported.
The Electoral Authority of the former Soviet Republic in the Southern Caucasus Mountains announced that it would postpone the referendum due to concerns about the virus outbreak.
Armenia has reported dozens of coronavirus patients and is seeking to avoid the ravages of the virus experienced by neighbouring Iran, where more than 800 people have died of the disease.
The referendum, which had been planned for April 5, is an effort backed by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to remove seven of the Constitutional Court’s nine judges.
Those seven judges were appointed before 2018 revolution that brought Pashinyan to power. The call for the referendum came after the Constitutional Court decided against pursuing a corruption case against a former president, Robert Kocharyan.
Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Rabiu Sani Ali
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Tuesday said his government’s number one priority is to fight corruption, his press office issued a statement.
Pashinyan said his government has taken steps to develop democratic institutions, improve the business environment, eliminate monopolies and minimise corruption risks in the state procurement system.
“We are determined to implement the objectives, programmes and activities we have foreseen,’’ Pashinyan said in a meeting with Piotr Switalski, head of the EU delegation to Armenia.
Highlighting the importance of the tasks the Armenian government has set, Switalski said the EU was prepared to support Armenia’s efforts.
The EU and Armenia signed a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement in November.
The two also discussed the expected snap elections and improving the electoral code.