The United States on Wednesday expressed serious concern at reports that an armed opposition group in Armenia took an ambulance crew hostage after they came in to help its members wounded in a shootout with security forces.
The U.S. Embassy in Armenia also urged the gunmen occupying a Yerevan police station and Armenian authorities to end their more than weeklong standoff peacefully.
“With a particular note of the events of July 26-27, we urge all sides to show maximum restraint, act within the confines of the law, and demonstrate a commitment to the peaceful resolution of the standoff,” an embassy statement said.
It referred to an overnight exchange of fire around the seized police compound in Yerevan’s southern Erebuni district that left at least two gunmen and one police officer wounded.
“We are especially concerned by media reports today that medical personnel have been detained in the Erebuni Police building,” added the statement.“Such actions are unacceptable, and if true, we call for the immediate and safe release of these individuals.”
The gunmen affiliated with a radical opposition movement seized the Erebuni compound on July 17 to demand the release of their arrested leader and President Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation.
The U.S. State Department strongly condemned the armed attack which left one police officer dead and four others wounded. “We would certainly want to caution anybody who thinks that violence is a plausible way to achieve any political aims,” a department spokesman said on July 19.
The attack was has also been condemned by the European Union and Russia.