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Armenian President Against Idea of Arming Residents of Border Villages

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan is opposed to the idea of arming residents of border villages. He said this at a July 24 meeting with members of the Public Council.

"The Public Council also presented numerous proposals on the issues of fortifying the border zone and ensuring security. Particularly, an active discussion was held on arming the population of the border communities which was rejected by the president who dwelled on the existing conditions created in the armed forced for border dwellers able to use a weapon," reads the statement published on the president's official website. 

The fact that Karabakh's leadership is discussing providing firearms to residents of the Kelbajar region was announced by Armenian Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan. He said that the majority of the residents are contract military servicemen and the question of arms can be solved by allowing them to take their weapons home. At a government meeting, the minister said that after recent events in Kelbajar, all the ways of entering the area from Azerbaijan will be discovered and protected by land mines. 

According to Armenian and Karabakh authorities, Askerov and Guliyev kidnapped and killed 17-year-old Smbat Tsakanyan in the territory of Karvachar (Kelbajar). In addition, they are accused of killing 42-year-old Major Sargis Abrahamyan and injuring 37-year-old Karine Davtyan. 

Baku insists that Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilham Askerov (pictured), as well as the killed Hasan Hasanov, have nothing to do with the country's armed forces. The Armenian side, however, refuses to give the detainees POW status.

The Prosecutor's Office in Karabakh accuses them of espionage, illegally crossing the Nagorno-Karabakh border, illegal possession of arms and ammunition, kidnapping, use of weapons, murder motivated by ethnic hatred accompanied by kidnapping, and attempted murder of two individuals motivated by ethnic hatred.