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Armenia And Azerbaijan Exchange Prisoners, Protests Continue Against Pashinyan

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Armenia And Azerbaijan Exchange Prisoners, Protests Continue Against Pashinyan

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On December 28th, more than a month after the end of the fighting in the southern Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan exchanged prisoners of war.

This is not the first time such an exchange happens.

Under Russian mediation, two Azerbaijanis and four Armenians have returned to their homeland, said the commander of the Russian peacekeeping forces on site, Rustam Muradov, the Interfax news agency reported on Monday.

A video shows how Sputnik reporters met in Yerevan the Armenian prisoners brought from Azerbaijan with the personal mediation of the commander of the Russian peacekeepers, Lieutenant General Rustam Muradov.

By mid-December, the two warring states had already exchanged more than 50 prisoners.

The Russian peacekeepers are continuing their efforts, educating citizens in Nagorno-Karabakh on security and safety, clearing out mines and more.

On December 27th, as a result of the work of the engineer-sapper group in the central region of the city of Stepanakert, 13.3 hectares of territory were cleared, during the inspection, they were found and transported to the landfill for the destruction of 1,149 explosive objects.

Furthermore, on December 28th, as a result of the work of the engineering group, 13.6 hectares of territory, 5 km of roads, 35 buildings were cleared, more than a thousand explosive objects were found.

Meanwhile, Artsakh rescuers were not allowed to search for missing persons in Hadrut.

The search and rescue teams of the State Emergency Service of Artsakh were not allowed to leave for Hadrut.

Head of the Public Relations Department of the State Emergency Service Hunan Tadevosyan told “Armenpress” about this.

“According to the plan, three groups were sent to search and rescue operations in the direction of Gadrut. In the morning there was no contact with the groups, but they were contacted some time ago, it became clear that they were not allowed to move from the vicinity of the Shekher village. Now they are returning,” Hunan Tadevosyan said.

On December 27, Azerbaijani media reported on the resumption of hostilities between the Armenian-Azerbaijani military near the village of Tog in Hadrut.

There are also reports of casualties on both sides. The village of Tog is under the full control of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan. The Artsakh Defense Army stated that not a single unit of the Defense Army, not a single serviceman took part in any operations, no emergency was registered, not a single shot was fired from the Armenian side.

In Armenia, protests against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan continue and the opposition rejected his proposal for “special elections”.

In an interview on December 27th, he said that the ate of the government should be determined by the people, and one of the ways of displaying the people’s expression of will is parliamentary elections.

“I am proposing a mechanism whereby everyone’s voice will be heard, and the correlation of these voices will be quantifiable and measurable. And, essentially, this is a mechanism of forming public solidarity. After all, what is the dispute about? The dispute is the following – who should decide the government’s fate. My presumption, and the presumption outlined by the Constitution, is that the people should determine the fate of the government,” Pashinyan said.

Asked whether or not changes will be implemented until early elections – Electoral Code, Constitution, stable majority, percentages – the PM said this should also become subject of discussion.

He said the parliament majority could solve these issues within the ruling faction.

“But we want discussions to take place over these topics, and we want to hear out all viewpoints. We want to have substantial discussions about everything. For all this time, I haven’t avoided answering any question neither from reporters nor anyone else. People claim I am a traitor, they are chanting and accusing me of treason, and I am telling them all right, I am ready to face this accusation. Let the people decide whether or not I am a traitor. Am I avoiding any accusation? Electoral Code? Very well, I have my perception on how it should be, let others also say their perceptions. First of all the parliamentary forces, but of course the other forces should also voice their perceptions,” Pashinyan said.

The opposition publicly rejected Pashinyan’s proposal for special elections.

Opposition leader (17 parties), candidate for Prime Minister Vazgen Manukyan said that elections in the country are possible only after a new government is formed as a result of Pashinyan’s departure.

According to him, the actions of disobedience will continue until Pashinyan resigns.

Earlier, Pashinyan invited the opposition to consultations to discuss the holding of early elections.

Recall that the opposition has set a goal to meet 2021 without Prime Minister Pashinyan. There are only a few days left until 2021.

Azerbaijan, on its part, continues releasing videos of its “liberated territories.”

There’s also a video of the Azerbaijani prisoners of war returning to Baku.

Azerbaijan also released a list of 2,883 names, photos and military ranks of those that died in the Nagorno-Karabakh war.

The list can be found here: [pdf]

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