Pashinyan Blames Baku for Carrying Out Ethnic Cleansing
As of 8 p.m. local time on Thursday 76,400 displaced Artsakh residents had arrived in Armenia continuing the exodus that began after Azerbaijani forces launched a large-scale attack against Artsakh last week.
As the wave of displaced persons crossing into Armenia continued, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Azerbaijan of “finishing the ethnic cleansing” in the region.
“Our analysis shows that there will be no Armenians left in Nagorno-Karabakh in the coming days. This is a direct act of ethnic cleansing and deportation, and something we have been warning the international community about for a long time,” Pashinyan said.
He complained that international criticism of Azerbaijan has not been backed up by “concrete actions.”
“If declarations of condemnation are not followed by commensurate political and legal decisions, condemnations become acts of acquiescence,” Pashinyan told his cabinet on Thursday.
Pashinyan’s spokesperson Nazeli Baghdasaryan said that 1,000 displaced people are being registered every hour, reporting that more than 50,000 people have already been registered.
The Armenian government has mobilized 35 large buses in Goris to help those leaving Artsakh who might need transportation.
Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Khachatryan said Thursday that reports from Artsakh indicated that many people do not have vehicles.
“We have an agreement that we will support these people by providing buses. We have an agreement with Russian peacekeepers that they will accompany the buses,” he said, adding that the buses are now on stand-by waiting for the heavy traffic jam on the road to decrease and head to Stepanakert.
The Goris-Stepanakert has been heavily congested because all lanes are full of vehicles traveling from Stepanakert to Kornidzor.
Pashinyan also announced that every person entering Armenia will receive a one-time 100,000 dram ($285) stipend, “regardless of age, for urgent needs.”
Armenia’s Finance Minister Vahe Hovhannisyan said during the cabinet meeting on Thursday 10 billion drams ($25.5 million) from the 2024 has been earmarked for assistance for the displaced Artsakh residents.
“We are approving the budget in an environment when we have tens of thousands of forcibly displaced refugees, whom we must take of, and ensure their dignified accommodation in the mid-term. Not having a concrete number on the forcibly displaced at this moment, we are defining a clear point in the state budget, preliminarily envisaging 10 billion drams, with the possibility of increasing it as needed,” Hovhannisyan said explained.