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Government Vows Aid Program For Disabled War Veterans


Armenia - A cabinet meeting in Yerevan, January 21, 2021.

The Armenian government on Thursday pledged to provide demobilized soldiers maimed during the recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh with modern prosthetics and help them find jobs and receive higher education.

Labor and Social Affairs Minister Mesrop Arakelian said the government will set up a commission of local and, if necessary, foreign prosthetic experts that will assess the individual needs of every disabled war veteran.

All veterans will be eligible for receiving, free of charge, artificial limbs recommended by the commission, Arakelian said during a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan. The government will pay for even the most expensive prostheses, he said.

Arakelian added that the government is also ready to provide financial assistance to local firms that can manufacture prosthetic hands, feet and other body parts meeting modern standards.

“We are also going to solve [prosthetic] servicing issues … I think that this will also be included in the aid program,” said Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinian.

According to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, the program will cover employment and educational issues as well.

“For our disabled compatriots, we must also provide adequate professional retraining or assist in their education,” Pashinian told his ministers.

Minister of High-Tech Industry Hakob Arshakian announced in that regard that his ministry and private tech companies will help interested veterans find jobs in Armenia’s information technology (IT) sector. They are planning to organize free training courses for that purpose, he said.

“Thousands of people will get a chance to receive IT education,” said Arshakian.

The officials did not specify the number of Armenian soldiers who became disabled during the six-week hostilities and now need prosthetics.

The authorities have also not yet released the precise numbers of soldiers killed and wounded in action.

Avinian told the Armenian parliament on Wednesday that the bodies of 3,439 soldiers and volunteer fighters have been recovered from Karabakh frontlines so far. He said 766 of them have still not been identified and DNA tests are carried out for that purpose.

Karabakh Armenian search teams are continuing to look for the bodies of dead soldiers in former battlefields in and around Karabakh. Avinian suggested that the total number of Armenian combat deaths will not exceed 4,000.

The vice-premier dismissed opposition criticism of the continuing lack of full information about war casualties. He said the Armenian Defense Ministry will provide such information in a report to be released soon.

The ministry has so far published the names of 1,898 Armenian soldiers killed during the war stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire on November 10.

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