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Pashinyan Issues Warning to Artsakh Leaders, Denounces Government-in-Exile Claims

Pashinyan Issues Warning to Artsakh Leaders, Denounces Government-in-Exile Claims

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has criticized the Yerevan-based leaders of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), accusing them of presenting themselves as a government in exile and threatening potential consequences during a session of his cabinet on Thursday.

In a stern address, Pashinyan emphasized that there can be no alternative government to the one in Armenia. He highlighted the significance of national security, stating that any entity claiming to be a government in exile within Armenia poses a serious threat.

The remarks were primarily directed at Samvel Shahramanyan, the president of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). Shahramanyan has recently asserted in an interview with France’s Le Figaro that all Artsakh's administrative bodies continued to function after relocating to Armenia following the invasion last September.

Shahramanyan defended his actions, citing the necessity of ensuring the safety of Artsakh Armenians amidst Azerbaijani military advances. He reaffirmed the validity of his September 28 decree to dissolve Artsakh, despite opposition from Pashinyan's political allies who accused him of jeopardizing national security.

Pashinyan has refused to engage with Shahramanyan and other Artsakh leaders since their relocation to Armenia, signaling a closure of the Artsakh issue under his administration. Critics allege that Pashinyan's stance reflects an unwillingness to provoke Azerbaijan.

In response to Pashinyan's statements, Ishkhan Saghatelian, a prominent figure in Armenia's main opposition Hayastan alliance, condemned the prime minister's actions as threatening and warned against potential repression of the Artsakh leadership.

Pashinyan further asserted the need for Armenian security services to be vigilant against external forces seeking to exploit displaced individuals from Nagorno-Karabakh. However, he did not provide specific details on the measures to be taken.

Meanwhile, Shahramanyan's recent public appearance at a screening of a Russian film organized by the Russian Embassy in Yerevan has drawn attention. Russian Ambassador Sergei Kopyrkin characterized attendees as friends of Russia, signaling potential geopolitical implications.


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