Armenian government: Prime Minister assassination attempt and coup thwarted

The Armenian authorities have reportedly prevented an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Nikol Paschinian. As the security service of the country (NSS) announced, a group of ex-top officials wanted to seize power in this way. Because of the controversial ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Paschinian is under strong domestic political pressure, as this is associated with ceding territories to the warring Azerbaijan.

For the coup plans, the former NSS boss Artur Vanetsian, the former club leader of the opposition Republican Party, Vahram Bagdasarian and the voluntary fighter Ashot Minasian were arrested, it said. “The suspects planned to take power illegally by assassinating the prime minister. There has also been discussions about candidates for his successor,” the NSS said.

Paschinian had said this week that the ceasefire was the only way to prevent further territorial losses. He takes responsibility for it, but refuses to resign. The ceasefire also provides for the deployment of 2,000 Russian peacekeepers in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region. It is an exclave inhabited by Armenians within Azerbaijan. Since the 1990s, in addition to the exclave itself, Armenians had also maintained a connection to Armenia via Azerbaijani territory. In the recent conflict not only this territorial connection was lost, but also large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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