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Oppositionist Calls Russian-Armenian Air Defense Deal ‘Betrayal’

Signing an agreement “in a pre-war period” on creating a joint air defense system with Russia is a “betrayal,” Davit Sanasaryan, a member of the “Barev Yerevan” faction in Yerevan's Council of Elders and the opposition Heritage party, said today during a protest action in front of the National Assembly building. 

A group of demonstrators gathered outside the parliament building Monday to demand that the National Assembly does not ratify the agreement on the creation of the “united regional air defense system in the Caucasus region of collective security” between Russia and Armenia which was signed in December, 2015, and is expected to be ratified by Armenia's parliament during its ongoing four-day session. Some of the protesters went so far as to announce an indefinite sit-in in front of the National Assembly.

The Heritage party today issued a statement against the deal, noting that in case of ratification, “Russia will basically be the decision-maker on matters concerning the air defense of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Speaking on behalf of his party during the demonstration, Davit Sanasaryan said: “Signing such an agreement in a pre-war period and giving up one of the main attributes of Armenia's sovereignty to a so-called ally is a betrayal. Rest assured that in the future Russia will not allow Armenia to take part in Artsakh's air defense. In case of war, Azerbaijan will strike directly on Artsakh and not Armenia's borders so as not put Russia in an awkward position.”

Demonstrator Vardan Geravetyan, for his part, stated that “as history has shown, guarantees given by superpowers usually lead to grave consequences.”

“Once upon a time, the USA, Great Britain, and Russia promised Ukraine an inviolability of borders if it handed its nuclear weapons over to Russia. Ukraine did as told, and now we have a separated Crime, the issues of Donetsk and Lugansk. That is, no agreements are eternal when there are national interests involved. The fact is that Ukraine has lost part of its territories as a result of the superpowers' guarantees,” Geravetyan said.