Several Injured, Detained amid Clashes with Police in Yerevan over Nagorno-Karabakh Hostilities
- September, 20, 2023 - 10:59
- Other Media news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – In total, 34 people have been injured during clashes near the Armenian government building in Yerevan on Tuesday, including 16 law enforcement officers, the Health Ministry said.
“As a result of the clashes near the government building, according to preliminary data, 34 people were injured, including 16 police officers and 18 civilians,” the ministry said in a statement, Sputnik reported.
Moments earlier, the Armenian Investigative Committee detailed that "several" police cases were opened as detainees were held on the "suspicion of committing criminal acts."
Footage has surfaced across social media documenting continued clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement officials near government buildings in the Armenian capital.
At the time, the Russian embassy in Yerevan indicated the building had also been temporarily blocked by protesters in the area, with staffers then describing the situation as "tense."
The stream of demonstrations come on the heel of renewed tensions over Nagorno-Karabakh, a land-locked region in the South Caucasus that has been at the center of tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan since the early 1990s after a movement for reunification with Armenia began in Nagorno-Karabakh in 1988. Military hostilities broke out in the region on two prior occasions in 1992 and again in 2020.
Along with various global leadership, the Russian Defense Ministry has called on both sides to immediately cease hostilities and return to efforts to renew the implementation of trilateral agreements. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov earlier told reporters that a diplomatic settlement to the conflict still "exists."
A Wednesday statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry specifically calls on "the conflicting sides to immediately stop the bloodshed, cease hostilities and avoid casualties among the civilian population."
The ministry believes "the fate of the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement was dramatically affected by Yerevan's recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as part of the territory of Azerbaijan at the summits under the auspices of the European Union in October 2022 and May 2023," adding "this changed the fundamental conditions, under which the statement of the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia of November 9, 2020, was signed, as well as the position of the Russian Peacekeeping Contingent."
The ministry said Russia's peacekeeping forces "have been faithfully carrying out the tasks of maintaining the ceasefire and ensuring contacts between the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides" since their deployment in the region, adding that Russia's peacekeepers "coordinated efforts to improve the humanitarian situation 'on the ground,' as well as contributed to the launch of direct dialog between Baku and (the Karabakh city of) Stepanakert."
"Even in these hours, the Russian Peacekeeping Contingent is providing assistance to the civilian population, including medical aid, and is engaged in evacuation," the Russian ministry said.
"It is important now to urgently return to the implementation of the set of trilateral agreements, reached at the highest level in 2020-2022, where all steps for a peaceful solution to the Karabakh problem are enshrined, to stop the armed confrontation and do everything possible to ensure the rights and security of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh," the statement read.
Both nations, until recently, were teetering on the edge of a future peace agreement, with a deal previously expected to be secured by year's end after Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan declared Yerevan was ready to recognize Azerbaijan's sovereignty within its Soviet-era borders, including Karabakh.
Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev later noted that Azerbaijan and Armenia could sign a peace agreement in the later half of the year so long as Yerevan did not change its stance.