01:33 GMT19 April 2021
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    Earlier in the day, the general staff demanded Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's resignation and warned him against using force against the Armenian people.

    Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that he had sacked the chief of the armed forces' general staff, Onik Gasparyan.

    Nikol Pashinyan assessed the general staff's calls as an attempt to stage a military coup and had invited his supporters to gather at the Republic Square in Yerevan. He also pledged to address the nation soon.

    The Armenian Defence Ministry's spokesman, Gevorg Altunyan, declined to comment on the armed forces' statement.

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    • 19:46

      US Watching Situation in Armenia Very Closely, Urges Parties to Exercise Restraint - State Department

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States is watching the situation in Armenia very closely and is calling on all sides to exercise restraint, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on a press briefing, held on Thursday.

      “We are of course aware of recent developments in Armenia. We are following the situation very closely ,” Price said at a briefing. “We urge all parties to exercise restraint and to avoid any escalatory or violent actions. We remind all parties of the bedrock democratic principle that [a] state’s armed forces should not intervene in domestic politics.”


    • 18:36

      Iran's Foreign Ministry Urges Armenia's Political Forces to Exercise Restraint

      Iran is closely monitoring the developing political situation in neighbouring Armenia, expecting all parties to exercise restraint, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Thursday.

      "We closely follow the situation in Armenia," Khatibzadeh said in a statement, extending a call on "all parties" to exercise restraint.

      Supporters and opponents of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan staged new demonstrations in Yerevan earlier in the day. This followed a series of high-profile military layoffs, including of army chief of staff Onik Gasparyan and deputy chief Tigran Khachatryan, who mocked the prime minister's controversial comment about the alleged failure of Russian-supplied Iskander missiles during the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

      The military demanded that Pashinyan step down, which the prime minister slammed as an attempted coup.

    • 16:08

      Pashinyan Calls Putin, Russian President Speaks in Favour of Settling Armenia Crisis in Line With Legal Framework

      Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan discussed the situation in Armenia by phone, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

      The phone conversation took place at the initiative of the Armenian side.

      "The situation in Armenia was discussed ... Putin spoke in favour of maintaining order and calmness in Armenia, resolving the situation within the framework of the law," the spokesman said.

      "The head of the Russian state also called on all sides for restraint," Peskov added.

      Another political crisis erupted in Yerevan after Pashinyan's careless words about Russian missile systems Iskander. The deputy chief of Armenia's general staff, according to media reports, ridiculed the prime minister, for which he was dismissed, and the chief of the general staff was offered to resign as well. On Thursday morning, the Armenian Armed Forces issued a statement demanding the resignation of Pashinyan himself. The prime minister regarded this as an attempted coup and called on his supporters to take to the streets. In the meantime, the opposition has erected barricades and set up a tent camp near the parliament, they are not inclined to negotiate with the authorities and demand the resignation of the prime minister.

    • 15:35

      Iskander-M Missile Systems Were Not Used During Conflict in Karabakh, Russian Defence Ministry Says

    • 14:22

      Pashinyan Says His Rally is Done, Calls on All Political Forces to Begin Consultations

      Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan wrapped up his rally and urged all political forces to start consultations, a Sputnik correspondent reported Thursday.

      "From this moment on, we have finished our events and we expect our colleagues in the opposition to do the same," the prime minister said, adding that he was going back to the government building.

      Pashinyan led a rally of his supporters through the streets of Yerevan for the second time in one day. Earlier on Thursday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces demanded that Pashinyan resign.

    • 14:05

      Armenian Opposition Leader Calls for Barricades Next to Parliament

      Armenian opposition leader Vazgen Manukyan on Thursday urged for barricading the streets next to the parliament amid the standoff between the government and the General Staff of the Armed Forces.

      Earlier in the day, the General Staff demanded that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his government resign.

      "We are not leaving, we are staying here and blocking the streets with barricades so that lawmakers would come and send him [Pashinyan] packing. To waste this opportunity would be to lose the country," Manukyan said.

    • 13:55

      Pashinyan Rejects Idea of Early Parliament Election

      Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Thursday he had given up the idea of early parliamentary elections, although he had entertained it before.

      "Upon your request, I am taking the idea of early legislative elections off the table," the prime minister said at a rally with his supporters.

    • 13:41

      Armenian Defence Ministry Says Unacceptable to Get Armed Forces Involved in Politics

      The Armenian Defence Ministry said Thursday that any attempts to get armed forces involved in political activity were unacceptable.

      "Armenian Armed Forces guard the borders of the homeland to the fullest of their abilities and ensure their security. The armed forces are a non-political entity and any attempts to get the armed forces involved in any political activity are unacceptable," the ministry said in a statement.

    • 13:28

      Armenian Prime Minister Warns Opponents of Arrest If Any Lines Crossed

      Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday said his opponents might face arrests if they crossed any lines from statements to action.

      "If someone crosses the line from political statements, they will be arrested. No more velvet," Pashinyan said at a rally.

      Pashinyan came to a power as a result of a so-called velvet revolution.

    • 12:57

      Pashinyan Says Only Armenian People Can Decide If He Should Step Down

      Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Thursday at a rally in Yerevan it was up to the people to decide if he should step down.

      Earlier in the day, Armenia's general staff demanded Pashinyan's resignation in the wake of his decision to sack the first deputy chief of the general staff.

      "It is only up to the people to decide if I should step down," Pashinyan stressed.

      The prime minister recalled he had invited the opposition to study the possibility to hold snap parliamentary elections, but the opposition made use of it to escalate tensions.

      "It is only up to the people to address such issues. Let the people demand, let the people judge me," Pashinyan said.

    • 12:46

      Pashinyan Calls on Armenian General Staff Chief to Step Down Voluntarily

      Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called on the general staff chief, Onik Gasparyan, to step down voluntarily, as President Armen Sargsyan has not signed the decree on his dismissal.

      "I held a phone conversation with the president and I told him he should sign my petition to fire [Gasparyan]. If he does not sign it, does it mean he joins the coup?" Pashinyan said at a rally in Yerevan.

      The prime minister called on Gasparyan to step down voluntarily.

      "I expect either the president to sing the decree, or the chief of the general staff to resign on his own. Then I will start political consultations with the sharpest critics," Pashinyan noted.

    • 12:42

      Azeri President Says Situation in Armenia More Deplorable Than Ever

      President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said Thursday that the situation in neighboring Armenia had never been worse and the country was in that state because of its leadership.

      "Armenia has never been in such a pitiable state. It is their leadership that got them to this place," Aliyev said, as quoted by his press service.

    • 12:38

      Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan Says Army Cannot Be Involved in Politics

      Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Thursday that the army cannot get involved in any political process, since it must obey the people and the elected government.

      "The army cannot participate in political processes. The army must obey the people and the authorities that were elected by the people," Pashinyan said at a rally in Yerevan.

      The Armenian leader stressed that the previous governments had some "stooges" in the armed forces and called on them to leave.

    • 12:27

      PM Pashinyan Says Armenian People Will Not Allow Military Coup

    • 12:25

      Pashinyan Calls on Armenian Military to Focus on Protecting Borders, Territorial Integrity

      Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called on the military on Thursday to fulfill their duties and focus on protecting the country's borders and territorial integrity.

      "I order all the soldiers, officers and generals to mind their business and protect borders and Armenia's territorial integrity," Pashinyan said.

      The prime minister also expressed confidence that the Armenian people would never allow a coup.

    • 12:23

      Armenian Warplanes Fly Over Yerevan in Support of Opposition Rally

      Armenian warplanes on Thursday flew over the capital of Yerevan during rallies of supporters and opponents of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan amid a political crisis in the country, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

      The military aircraft flew over Liberty Square, and the opposition supporters who gathered there welcomed this move.

    • 11:59

      Armenian President is Trying to De-Escalate Tensions

      Armenian President Armen Sargsyan said on Thursday he was already taking steps to de-escalate tensions and secure a peaceful settlement to the conflict between the government and the military.

      "I am urgently initiating steps to reduce tensions and find a peaceful solution," Sargsayn said in a statement, released on his official website.

      The president called on Armenians not to fall for provocations.

      "Our people cannot afford a discord, we must reject any attempt to destabilize the country," Sargsayn continued.

      The Armenian leader asked all the state bodies, law enforcement agencies, political forces and the people to exercise restraint. According to  Sargsayn, a single ill-considered word is enough to deepen the crisis.

    • 11:52

      Armenian Opposition Leader Manukyan Believes No Coup Taking Place in Country

      Armenian opposition leader Vazgen Manukyan, who used to serve as prime minister and defenсe minister, expressed the belief on Thursday that the events enfolding in his country were not an attempt to overthrow the government.

      "This is not a coup, the army has a constitutional right to point at the key enemy who jeopardizes Armenia's safety, and it did point to him, saying that this is [Prime Minister] Nikol Pashinyan," Manukyan said at an opposition rally.

      The opposition figure called on the police and security agencies to side with the army.

      According to Manukyan, Armenia's "agonizing" authorities are trying to "pit people and the army against each other."

      "We must purge Pashinyan and restore our homeland through common effort," Manukyan added.

    • 11:41

      Lavrov Tells Armenian Foreign Minister Moscow Wants Crisis to Be Resolved Peacefully

      Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavorv and his Armenian counterpart, Ara Ayvazyan, held a phone conversation on the developments in Armenia on Thursday, and Lavrov expressed hope for a peaceful settlement of the political crisis, triggered by disagreements between the government and the military, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

      "The Russian side stressed that we see the situation as Armenia's domestic issue and hope it will be settled peacefully," the ministry added.

      Ayvazyan briefed Lavrov on the latest developments, the ministry said.

    • 11:31

      Armenian Opposition Leader Says Agonising Gov't Tries to Pit People and Army Against Each Other

    • 11:30

      Armenian General Staff Stresses Statement Calling for Pashinyan's Resignation Was Not Issued Under Pressure

      The general staff of the Armenian armed forces said on Thursday its earlier statement calling for resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was not made under any pressure.

      "This is a clear conviction, the position of generals and officers, whose only goal is to contribute to the salvation of our motherland at this critical moment. We once again confirm our clear position," the general staff said.

    • 11:14

      Protest Against PM Pashinyan in Yerevan After Army Demands His Resignation

    • 11:11

      Pashinyan Assures There Will Be No Coup in Armenia

      Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan assured on Thursday that attempts to stage a coup in his country would not succeed.

      "No," Pashinyan told reporters at an online press conference, when asked if a coup was possible.

      Pashinyan is currently marching the streets with his supporters in Yerevan. He earlier pledged to make a statement at the Republic Square, where a rally of his supporters will be held, at 4 p.m. local time (12:00 GMT).

      A new wave of protest rocks Yerevan, as the armed forces requested Pashinyan's resignation in the wake of his decision to fire the deputy chief of the general staff.

    • 11:10

      Turkey Condemns Attempted Coup in Armenia

       Turkey sees the events enfolding in Armenia as an attempt to stage a coup, which it resolutely condemns, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday.

      "Wherever a coup takes place, we condemn this. We condemn this attempt [to stage a coup in Armenia] resolutely. Criticizing the government and calling for its resignation is normal, while overthrowing the government with army assistance is unacceptable, as well as mere calls [to overthrow the government]," Cavusoglu said during his working visit to Budapest,

      Stability in Armenia is vitally important for the implementation of the Karabakh ceasefire, therefore Turkey closely follows the developments in Yerevan, the foreign minister continued.

    • 10:47

      Ex-Armenian President Kocharyan Calls on People to Support Military Calling For Pashinyan's Resignation

      Former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan called on the people on Thursday to support the military, calling on Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to step down.

      "Authorities who lost the war and gave up our land must step down. This is the key condition for our national revival," Kocharyan said.

      Kocharyan, who headed the country between 1998 and 2008, called on Armenian citizens to side with the armed forces.

    • 10:38

      Clashes in Centre of Yerevan Between Prime Minister's Supporters and Opposition

    • 10:36

      Armenian National Security Service Warns Against Undermining Safety

    • 10:30

      Karabakh President Offers Mediation to Overcome Political Crisis in Armenia

      The president of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Arayik Harutyunyan, is currently in Yerevan and is ready to mediate a political crisis that emerged due to disagreements between the Armenian government and the military.

      "I call on all the sides to show composure and sanity. Otherwise, our defeat will deepen and become more fatal. Stop that, we have shed so much blood. Now it is time to soften the crisis and follow the path of long-term development and strengthening," Harutyunyan said, expressing concerns over the political situation in Armenia.

      Andranik Kocharian, the head of the Armenian parliament’s defense and security committee from the ruling My Step Faction, dismissed Harutyunyan’s offer of mediation.

      "There is no need for this. We can solve our problems on our own. Arayik Harutyunyan should instead focus on the security of Artsakh," he said, calling the breakaway region by its preferred name.

    • 10:28

      Pashinyan Says Situation in Armenia Is Manageable, Clashes Should Be Avoided

      Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan expressed the belief on Thursday that the situation in the country was manageable and called for avoiding clashes despite differences.

      "The army obeys the people and the prime minister," Pashinyan told reporters.

      Asked about the possibility of civilian clashes, the prime minister noted that "there is always such a threat."

      "But we must agree that this will not be the case. There are no enemies inside Armenia. There are some issues we should certainly discuss," Pashinyan continued.

      Asked if a coup could take place in the country, the prime minister assessed the situation as "manageable" and expressed the belief that the armed forces' move was motivated by their strong emotional reaction.

      "Even those whom I sacked remain my brothers, they are soldiers of our homeland," Pashinyan concluded.

    • 10:17

      Armenian PM Declares Neither Him, Nor His Family Will Leave Country Amid Resignation Demand

      Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Thursday, amid tensions between the government and the military, that he and his family had no intentions to leave the country.

      "I hope you have already got used to the information terror. They keep spreading different rumors, they claim we have prepared an aircraft and are going to flee. We are here and we will not leave our homeland no matter what happens. My family is here," Pashinayn said, while marching with his supporters in Yerevan.

    • 10:10

      Armenian PM Pashinyan Holds Rally After Army Demands His Resignation

    • 10:02

      Opposition Party Prosperous Armenia Calls on Pashinyan to Step Down

      Opposition political party Prosperous Armenia supported on Thursday the general staff's "game-changing" demand for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's resignation and called on the head of the government to step down immediately.

      "The statement of the armed forces and the general staff, calling for standing side by side with the people and the statehood is a game-changer. We call on Nikol Pashinyan not to go toward a civil war, not to shed Armenian blood inside the country, not to sow discord among Armenians. Nikol Pashinyan has the last chance to step down politically with no shocks," Prosperous Armenia said in a statement.

    • 09:34

      Kremlin Says Watching Situation in Armenia With Concern, Considers It Armenia's Internal Affair

      The Kremlin follows with concern the developments in Armenia, where tensions are escalating between the government and the military, but considers the situation to be the country's internal affair, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

      "We watch the developments in Armenia with concern. We believe this is exclusively an internal affair of Armenia, which we see as a very important and close ally in the Caucasus," Peskov said at a briefing.

      The Kremlin calls on all the sides in Armenia to exercise restraint and act in compliance with the constitution, Dmitry Peskov said.

      "We are certainly calling on everyone to exercise restraint. We believe the situation should not go beyond the constitutional framework," Peskov said at a briefing, commenting on the developments in the neighboring country.

    • 09:15

      Armenian President is Yet to Sign a Decree to Sack General Staff Chief

    • 09:14

      Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan Accuses Military of Attempted Coup After Demand to Leave Post

      In this photo provided by the Armenian Prime Minister Press Service via PAN Photo, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addresses the nation in Yerevan, Armenia, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020.

      Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan Accuses Military of Attempted Coup After Demand to Leave Post

      In December, Pashinyan invited political forces for consultations on the early parliamentary elections planned for 2021, but the opposition wants him to resign before the elections.
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