Pashinian accused Baku of refusing to abide by a Russian-mediated ceasefire agreement with the aim of reconquering Karabakh.
“At this decisive moment, we will not cave in because this is a fateful war for our people,” he declared in a televised address to the nation aired on the 18th day of large-scale hostilities in and around Karabakh.
“The Armenian people cannot be intimidated, the Armenian people cannot be defeated,” he said. “We will fight till the end and that end is called Free and Happy Artsakh (Karabakh), Free and Happy Armenia.”
“We must win, we must live, we must make our history, and we are making our history,” added Pashinian.
The Armenian premier acknowledged that Azerbaijani forces have made “some” territorial gains at northern and southern sections of the frontline since the outbreak of the war on September 27. But he insisted that a “blitzkrieg” planned by the Azerbaijani and Turkish militaries has failed and that Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army is “keeping the overall situation under control.”
The appeal came as heavy fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces continued along the Karabakh “line of contact” despite the ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia on October 10. The warring sides continued to accuse each other of violating it as Russia and other international mediators made more efforts to stop the bloodshed.
Pashinian said that the mediators’ efforts “have not been sufficient to rein in the Azerbaijani-Turkish-terrorist alliance.” He charged that Ankara has been encouraging Baku to continue the hostilities as part of its “traditional genocidal policy towards our people.”
The fighting again spread to Armenia’s international territory early on Wednesday as Azerbaijani forces struck Armenian military installations near the Azerbaijani border. Baku said its army destroyed Armenian ballistic missile systems that were about to attack Azerbaijani civilian areas and infrastructure.
The Defense Ministry in Yerevan denied such intentions and insisted that no rockets or gunshots have been fired from Armenian territory “until now.” It said that the Armenian military now “reserves the right to target by the same logic any military facility or troop movement inside Azerbaijan.”
The Armenian Foreign Ministry likewise stated that Baku’s “provocative actions will have irreversible military-political consequences.” It did not elaborate.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said later in the day that Russian military officials are now “verifying and analyzing the information” about the Azerbaijani strikes. Peskov would not be drawn on whether the Russian military could intervene or help the Armenian side otherwise.
“Let’s wait for the result of the verification,” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted him as saying.
Armenia’s membership in the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization commits Russia to defending it against foreign aggression.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on October 7 that Moscow will fulfill its defense obligations to Yerevan. He noted at the same time that “the hostilities are not being carried out on the territory of Armenia.”
In his televised speech, Pashinian thanked Russia and Putin personally for their mediation efforts. “Russia has managed to properly perform its role as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group and Armenia’s strategic ally,” he said.