Azerbaijani army units redeployed on March 30 to more parts of the Lachin district sandwiched between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, completing a change in the route of the Lachin corridor which began last August. Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) said hours later that they advanced up to 300 meters into Armenian territory at five locations adjacent to the border village of Tegh.
Local government officials and farmers said Tegh lost a large part of its agricultural land and pastures. Some of them said the Azerbaijani military made bigger territorial gains than is admitted by official Yerevan.
The NSS claimed on April 1 that the situation in that border area “improved significantly” as a result of negotiations held by Armenian and Azerbaijani officials. Tegh residents countered, however, that the Azerbaijani troops did not retreat from any of their newly occupied positions.
Pashinian insisted that “the situation has somewhat improved.” Only a 5-kilometer section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in the area has not been “ascertained” yet, he said, adding that the two sides are continuing to negotiate.
“Our intent has been and continues to be to avoid escalating the situation,” Pashinian said during a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan.
“Dear people, in this volatile and uncertain global environment, we need strong nerves and restraint in order not to succumb to forces interested in detonating the regional situation,” he went on. “Despite all the difficulties, the government of the Republic of Armenia tirelessly reaffirms its commitment to the peace agenda.”
Pashinian appealed to Armenians amid a continuing uproar caused by the Azerbaijani troop movements. The Armenian opposition has accused his administration of doing nothing to prevent the loss of yet another part of Armenia’s internationally recognized territory.
Opposition leaders say that the Armenian army should have taken up positions along the Armenian side of the border section ahead of the Azerbaijani advance. They say that instead of issuing such an order Pashinian declared on March 30 that from now on the Tegh area will be patrolled and protected by NSS border guards, rather than army units.
Pashinian’s political opponents also blamed him for much bigger territorial losses suffered by Armenia during border clashes with Azerbaijan in May 2021 and September 2022. They regularly charge that he cannot defend the country and rebuild its armed forces after mishandling the disastrous 2020 war in Karabakh.