We are being led like lambs to the slaughter: Armenian diplomat to The Guardian

We are being led like lambs to the slaughter: Armenian diplomat to The Guardian

The Guardian writes that Armenia is turning toward the West in search of allies amid tensions with Azerbaijan. As noted, this is a remarkable turnabout for a country that used to get 98% of its arms from Russia. Vahagn Arsenyan, the mayor of Jermuk, said, “We expect a new aggression at any time.” The article says that ethnic Armenians fled their homeland and consider it a piece of ethnic cleansing, while some of their captured political leaders are still kept in jail in Azerbaijan. The episode caused a rift in Armenian-Russian relations and further polarized the already divided Armenian society. Members of the National Assembly complain that Azerbaijan seems to be unrestrained and determined to raise more demands. “My profession, international law, is dead,” Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee Vladimir Vardanyan said, adding that sovereignty is becoming ever more vulnerable. “It’s important we build a consensus about the future of this region because if we do not, we will have a more imperialistic world than in the 19th century,” Vardanyan noted.

The article says that this month, Pashinyan ceded four border villages in the northeast of Tavush to Azerbaijan. “Accused by the opposition of endless capitulation, Pashinyan insisted the alternative would have been war,” reads the article.

Reference was also made to the establishment of the EU mission in Armenia. “With their blue flags, Jeeps and binoculars, they observe Azerbaijani troop movements and send copious daily reports back to Brussels. The staff seem convinced they provide reassurance when tensions and disinformation flourish,” the article says.

Defending the mission’s limited objectives, Markus Ritter, the head of the mission, said: “We can calm things down. We have become a stabilising factor. If you compare the situation before the deployment and afterwards, there is a difference.” As noted, Armenia is now buying weapons from India and France, and on April 5, the EU and the U.S. pledged to provide Armenia with €270 million and $65 million, respectively. The new partnership is meant to reduce Armenia’s heavy dependence on Russian markets and energy. However, this is a rather modest package, making one of the Armenian diplomats, on the condition of anonymity, express dissatisfaction: “I fear we are being led like lambs to the slaughter.”