In an interview with The Daily Telegraph published today, Pashinian, in particular, said that deployment of Russian peacekeepers will be an “optimal solution” to halt fighting that broke out in the region on September 27 and has claimed hundreds of lives – both among the military and civilians – so far.
At the same time, the Armenian leader stressed that it should be acceptable to all sides.
“I am for the deployment of Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone. But the thing is that all sides should give their consent to it,” Pashinian said.
The Armenian premier also stressed that Europe must exert more efforts to stop Turkey’s support to Azerbaijan.
Pashinian’s statement came amid reports of continued fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh where both warring parties accuse each other of failing to respect three ceasefire agreements reached earlier this month with the mediation of Russia, France and the United States, the three countries co-chairing the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan are understood to hold separate meetings with the group’s mediators in Geneva, Switzerland, later on Friday.
Meanwhile, Artsrun Hovhannisian, a representative of the Armenian Defense Ministry, reported heavy fighting in the south of Nagorno-Karabakh where the local ethnic Armenian forces acknowledged yesterday Azerbaijan’s advancement towards Shushi (Shusha), a strategic town overlooking the region’s capital, Stepanakert.
In a statement released on Friday morning the ethnic Armenian Defense Army of Nagorno-Karabakh claimed that after midnight Azerbaijani forces “attempted a new offensive in the southeastern direction”, which it said was stopped by its units. The ethnic Armenian military also reported activities of Azerbaijani forces on the northern front that they said were also stopped by Nagorno-Karabakh’s defense forces.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry denied launching any offensive, accusing the Armenian side of shelling Azerbaijani army positions as well as a number of Azerbaijani populated areas situated close to the conflict zone.