Pashinyan has said that the text of the joint statement is extremely painful for himself and the people of Armenia, but the decision had to be made
Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, says that he has signed a statement with the Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan, bringing an end to the Karabakh war.
“Together with the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan, I have signed a statement on the termination of the Karabakh war from 01.00. The text of the statement that has already been published is unbelievably painful for me and [the Armenian] people”, Pashinyan wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday.
Later, the spokesperson for the Kremlin confirmed that the Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan, as well as the Prime Minister of Armenia, adopted a joint statement on the cessation of hostilities in Karabakh.
This comes after the UK and the European Union have imposed sanctions on several individuals and one organisation following the novichok poisoning of Alexei Navalny. Six members of Russian government, including the first deputy chief of staff to President Vladimir Putin, have been handed EU and UK travel bans and asset freezes.
The peace deal took effect on Tuesday from 01:00 local time (21:00 GMT Monday).
Under the new deal, Azerbaijan will be permitted to hold on to areas of Nagorno-Karabakh that it had taken during the conflict. Armenia has now also agreed to withdraw from several of the adjacent areas over the following weeks.
During a televised online address, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin said that Russian peacekeepers would be deployed to patrol frontlines.
Russia’s defence ministry confirmed that 1,960 personnel would be involved and reports said planes had left an airbase at Ulyanovsk on Tuesday carrying peacekeepers and armoured personnel carriers to Karabakh.
Turkey will also take part in the peacekeeping process, according to Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, who joined President Putin during the address.
President Putin said the agreement would include an exchange of war prisoners, with “all economical and transport contacts to be unblocked.”
President Aliyev said the agreement was of “historic importance,” and amounted to a “capitulation” by Armenia.
Armenia’s prime minister said that his decision was based on “deep analyses of the combat situation and in discussion with best experts of the field”.
“This is not a victory but there is not defeat until you consider yourself defeated,” Mr Pashinyan said.
The Armenian leader in Nagorno-Karabakh, Arayik Harutyunyan, said a ceasefire was unavoidable after the loss of Karabakh’s second biggest town, Shusha (known as Shushi in Armenian).
This comes after Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny was reportedly able to speak again as he continues to make progress in his recovery from his suspected novichok poisoning.
Battles were already taking place on the outskirts of Karabakh’s main city, Stepanakert, and if the conflict had continued the whole of Karabakh would have been lost, he said on Facebook. “We would have far more losses,” he said.
In the Armenian capital Yerevan, a large crowd gathered to protest against the agreement, according to local media. They broke into parliament and government buildings, shouting “We will not give it up.”
Protesters ransacked the prime minister’s official residence and Mr Pashinyan said they “stole a computer, a clock, perfume, drivers licence and other items”.