Lukashenko estimated Belarus’ spending on refugees at $12.6 million

BBelarus was transferred $260 thousand to the “unfortunate”, while it has already spent dozens of times more, Lukashenko said. He claims that the West does not pay, because they think through whom to transfer in order to “steal half”

Lukashenko estimated Belarus' spending on refugees at $12.6 million

Belarus spent $12.6 million on the needs of refugees and related activities, while the West allocated only $260 thousand. This was stated by the President of the Republic Alexander Lukashenko, BelTA reports.

«Unhappy $260 thousand. «pressed». We counted three days earlier: we spent $12.6 million on all these activities. They transferred $260 thousand to our Red Cross. You see, they are so vile,” Lukashenko said.

He suggested that “the money is not going” because someone wants to steal some of the funds. “Our fugitives are sitting there now,” these are those who received funding stepwise. Even on animals, nature protection, something else. And it went through Lithuania, Poland. And there were filters sitting there that laundered, sucked out this money. They are not there now,” the president said.

Now the money needs to be transferred directly to the Secretary General of the Belarusian Red Cross Dmitry Shevtsov, he continued. “And Shevtsov is a patriot, and this money will go only to people. And they won’t stick to your hands— there are no intermediaries. Therefore, they are thinking through whom to transfer the money to steal half,” Lukashenko said.

On the eve of November 25, Lukashenko offered the European Union to pay for flights that take migrants home from Belarus. «Also scoundrels: « We allocated money: both millions and thousands…» Not a single penny of money was received here. The Red Cross is there and others. While we feed and drink these people, not at their expense. This is very important to them,” he said.

The situation in the border areas worsened on November 8, when a large convoy of migrants arrived there from the Belarusian side, the refugees set up camp directly at the border with Poland. They stated that they wanted to go to Germany. On the same day, Warsaw closed the border crossing «Smithy—«Bruzgi», not far from where they were going. Later, the Polish authorities presented Belarus with an ultimatum, threatening to restrict rail traffic, which was done on November 19.

Poland and Lithuania have increased the presence of security forces at the border with Belarus. Migrants have repeatedly clashed with Polish border guards at the border when refugees tried to break through the cordon and enter the EU.

Western countries believe that the transfer of refugees to the border was organized by the Belarusian authorities, who pursue their own political goals. In Belarus, these accusations were rejected and reported that the migrants act independently. According to Lukashenko, they can be used for political purposes by Poland itself, which “staged a massacre on the border to distract from internal problems”.

On November 15 and 17, Lukashenko spoke by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The parties agreed to resolve this issue between Belarus and the European Union, as well as appoint representatives from the two sides to start negotiations. The Belarusian side stated the need for the participation of international humanitarian organizations in the process of resolving the situation.

After that, the Polish side reported that most of the migrants had left the camp near the border. Migrants who had previously organized a camp on the Belarusian-Polish border in the area of the border crossing “Bruzgi”, left the camp and went in an unknown direction. The Belarusian authorities have placed them in a logistics center near the border. Minsk reported on several flights that sent migrants to their homeland.

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Lukashenko promised “not to catch and not to beat” migrants at the border

The Belarusian authorities will do everything as the migrants wish, “even if it will be bad for Poles, Latvians and someone else,” Lukashenko said. Earlier, he offered Germany to accept migrants, she rejected this option

Lukashenko promised

Alexander Lukashenko

Belarus will help those migrants who express such a desire to go home. This is their right, but they will not force anyone, President of the Republic Alexander Lukashenko said during a meeting with refugees at the checkpoint “Bruzgi”, BelTA reports.

“Anyone who wants to move in a westerly direction is also your right. We will not catch you and beat you and keep you behind barbed wire,” Lukashenko said.

He added that the Belarusian authorities are ready to do everything for refugees in trouble.

“We Belarusians, including myself, will do everything as you wish, even if it will be bad for Poles, Latvians and someone else,” the president said.

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Lukashenko also asked the refugees not to be afraid of the Belarusian border guards. “These are your friends! There is no need to be afraid of them. You can contact them with any request,” he noted. In addition, the President promised that the authorities will try to provide migrants with food and clothing and will do everything to facilitate their “temporary life”.

The migration crisis on the border of Belarus and the European Union escalated in early November. Thousands of migrants came to the point of “Bruzgi”, who tried to break through the barrier and attacked the Polish security forces with stones. They dispersed them with water cannons and tear gas.

Most of the migrants are Kurds who planned to cross the border with Poland to get to Germany and get asylum. Western countries believe that the transfer of refugees to the border was organized by the Belarusian authorities, who pursue their own political goals. In Belarus, these accusations were rejected and reported that the migrants act independently. According to Lukashenko, they can be used for political purposes by Poland itself, which “staged a massacre on the border to distract from internal problems”.

After a series of clashes at the border, the Belarusian authorities opened a logistics center for migrants. There children and women can spend the night and eat. About 2 thousand more refugees remained in the camp near the border. Lukashenko stated that Germany is able to accept such a large number of migrants, and expressed readiness to organize flights to Munich. Germany, in turn, denied any agreements with Belarus on this issue, saying that they were not considering the option of accepting refugees.

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The special services of Kyrgyzstan announced the exposure of the coup attempt

The seizure of power was to take place after the early parliamentary elections, according to the GKNB. The previous change of power in Kyrgyzstan took place after the parliamentary elections in October 2020, the results of which caused mass protests

The special services of Kyrgyzstan announced the exposure of the coup attempt

More than 15 people have been detained in Kyrgyzstan in connection with the preparation of a violent seizure of power, the portal reports 24.kg with reference to the information of the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan (GKNB).

The riots, according to the security forces, were supposed to begin after the announcement of the results of the early parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for November 28. After the previous elections in October 2020, mass protests took place in Kyrgyzstan, which led to the resignation of President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, the voting results were annulled.

“Irrefutable evidence has been obtained of the criminal activity of a group of individuals under the leadership of certain destructive-minded political forces, including members of parliament and former high-ranking officials. After the announcement of the results of the upcoming parliamentary elections, citizens planned to organize rallies in Bishkek with a violent seizure of power,” the State Security Committee reported.

The committee clarified that to participate in the riots, their organizers recruited about 1 thousand young people, with whom systematic meetings were held aimed at indoctrinating them against state structures, plans to provoke mass riots were discussed.

During the searches, firearms, ammunition and narcotic drugs were seized from the detainees and in their office.

“More than 15 suspects have been detained. In this criminal case, other members of the criminal group are also being identified, whose actions will also be given an appropriate legal assessment,” the State Security Committee added.

The protests in Kyrgyzstan in October 2020 began due to the fact that in the elections held on October 5, 2020, representatives of parties closely associated with President Sooronbem Jeenbekov took the majority of seats in parliament. People took to the streets demanding new elections. The protests escalated into clashes with security forces, protesters seized several administrative buildings, including the parliament building.

Of the five presidents of independent Kyrgyzstan, only two have peacefully and legally transferred power: Roza Otunbayeva, who held office during the transition period of 2010 and 2011, and Almazbek Atambayev, who followed her. The first and second presidents of the country, Askar Akayev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev, were forced to flee Kyrgyzstan. Jeenbekov also resigned under pressure from street protests.

New presidential elections were held in the republic on January 10, 2021, they were won by Sadyr Zhaparov, who was ahead of 16 other competitors by a large margin— he received almost 80% of the votes. Simultaneously with the elections, a referendum was held on changing the form of government from a parliamentary to a presidential republic. The majority of those who came to vote supported this proposal. At the same time, the turnout, although the elections were early and took place only four months after the revolution, turned out to be relatively small – less than 40%.

Zhaparov returned to politics straight from his prison cell, where he was serving time on charges of hostage-taking. Supporters released him on October 6, the second day of popular unrest. On October 10, Zhaparov was confirmed as Prime Minister. Five days later, he forced President Sooronbai Jeenbekov to resign and took his place, becoming acting head of state. In his resignation letter, Jeenbekov explained that he did not want to remain in the history of Kyrgyzstan as a president who “shed blood and shot at his citizens”.

In April, Kyrgyzstan held a referendum on amendments to the Constitution. With a turnout of more than 30%, citizens supported the changes in the Basic Law: the duties of the head of government were transferred to the head of the presidential staff, the president received the right to appoint and dismiss ministers. The number of MPs was reduced from 120 to 90.

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Ruben Vardanyan — RBC: “Yes, I’m going into politics”

Andnvestor and the 116th number of the Russian Forbes list, Ruben Vardanyan, in an interview with RBC, spoke about what kind of Armenia should be built, about the phenomena revealed by social surveys, and readiness to be “both a cleaner and a leader” of the country

Ruben Vardanyan — RBC:

Ruben Vardanyan

About the prevailing moods in the Armenian society

“First of all, we must admit that the war has left a very serious deep mark on the consciousness of Armenians both inside Armenia and outside, in terms of awareness that defeat has occurred. And in this sense, November 9th was such a cold shower, but an important moment for understanding where we are. On the other hand, I must say that the state of neither peace nor war in which we lived before the hostilities, unfortunately, remained after. It seems that there is an agreement on a ceasefire, and at the same time some incomprehensible things are happening. The third,Of course, this is a political crisis that has been going on within the Armenian society all this year, including an attempt to change the government, and in various forms. It was an important event for the whole of Armenia and the Armenian society as a whole, in which, it seems to me, quite serious changes have taken place. Because society said: “Yes, the current government has lost. The current government is to blame for many of the problems that have arisen. But nevertheless we don’t want to go back, we don’t want to go back to the past, we believe that this page has been turned over.

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“We saw how three groups were very clearly formed in society. One group, unfortunately, is completely disillusioned with everything, and does not see any future, and by and large is in complete depression. The second group said: “I’m in a house, I’m hiding, I’m in a bubble in which I want to hide from all this reality, I don’t want to hear anything.” And a small group that said, “No, we want change, we want change. Let’s draw conclusions, let’s analyze what was done wrong. Ultimately, let’s calmly analyze, understand the reasons and do everything so that this does not happen again.

“We have been doing regular surveys together with international experts since December last year. This is the fourth time we have conducted a survey every three months on what is happening in Armenian society. And the result shows that, despite the severity of the situation, including not only military, but also economic, and pandemic, the majority of people, about 70%, are rather satisfied with their lives,than not satisfied. And this is a phenomenon that was difficult to imagine, because we see that people live very poorly and very poorly. This is a dangerous signal that society survives, lives every day to survive, and that’s it. And this is a state of society from which it is very difficult to withdraw. People have lost their inner drive regarding the fact that something can be changed at all.

About finding a way out of the impasse

“The country does not change systematically. And everyone understands this. But here’s what to do— this is the last question that is being asked. What kind of Armenia should be built? How should we become strong, powerful, happy, having long-term projects in this situation? There is practically no talk on this topic. And this lack of a culture of in-depth discussions about what kind of society we are building, what kind of country we want to see in a year, five years, ten years, of course, is a big problem, because people need to show benchmarks.

“There is no state thinking, which manifests itself in the fact that when you make a decision about your life, about your future, you focus on several important things: what is important for me, for my family, for my nation and for my state. Lack of understanding that the state is a friend, a partner, an institution with which I can work and cooperate,;This is a great danger, and not only in Armenia. In general, the Armenian says that “I can live anywhere in the world.” Therefore, we are really a truly unique nation that is achieving success in all parts of the world, not only in Armenia. But this is both a plus and a minus. Because the person says: “I can easily move to another country, adapt and live there.”

“It’s been 30 years since we gained independence. We have dreamed of a sovereign Armenia for centuries. We got it. And how do we manage it? To what extent have we been able to effectively create a sovereign state, which is really a very important magnet for the nation, uniting very different Armenians from different parts of the world living in different parts of the world? I think this is a very serious challenge. And when you go through defeat, you have two options. Either you accept defeat, or you understand what needs to be fixed, how to train again, change,what resources should be used to become strong and powerful, shake yourself up and say: “We want to build a strong state. We want to build an effective relationship between the public and private sectors. We want to build effective relations between Armenia and diasporas. We want to build effective relations between business and society as a whole. We want to build relations between the church and the state, between people who look at different issues in completely different ways, but at the same time united by some single idea in the future.”

“We need to take a fundamentally different look at what is happening in Armenia. For example, in the near future, realizing that one of the problems in Armenia is education, we are launching a center for leadership and personal development. Since we consider it fundamentally important that there be a powerful educational center, so that Armenia has the opportunity to provide an international level of education in business, management, andin the public service, that is, in government, on a completely different level. And this is the question, it was necessary to concentrate resources and do it. We are going to launch a Strategic Development Center in the coming week, which we consider to be fundamentally important, which will involve the best resources both inside and outside Armenia. Such projects are simply needed to make people feel that these are not just individual efforts.

About Ruben Vardanyan and his real aspirations

“Ruben Vardanyan has already been accused of all mortal sins. And that I am the new Ivanishvili of Armenia, that I am Soros of Armenia, that I am a Turkish agent. What have I not heard about myself over the past few months, which was expected, because society has accumulated a negative attitude to everything.

“Ruben Vardanyan has always been in Armenia all these years. That is, I don’t have a business there, but I have been spending a lot of time in Armenia since 2001, when we started the Armenia 2020 project. On average, two or three months a year, with arrivals. I am deeply convinced that in order to change the situation in Armenia, which I am sure can be changed, it is necessary that ten of the best doctors, ten of the best scientists, ten of the best businessmen, ten of the best designers, ten of the best architects move to the country. And if I encourage others, of course it should apply to me.”

“Yes, I’m going into Armenian politics. But this is something other than just a political party, a desire to lead the country. To want to lead the country in today’s state is to be an illogical person. Because the country is in a very difficult state. The real future is completely unclear. Society is completely split. And in this sense, to take on the responsibility of becoming a leader is to be a very brave and risky person.

“If the elite that is consolidating and thinks together that this is the right decision to have someone else,”any decision is possible, because I am ready to be both a shoemaker for my nation, and a cleaner, and a leader.”

“I believe that the maximum benefit of Ruben Vardanyan is that he can help consolidate people from the past, from the present, and from the future generation, which also sits and watches indifferently.”

About the program of concrete actions

“We have to make a correct diagnosis of what happened. We have done it, we have carried out very serious work. We understand all our illnesses. Secondly, we definitely need to unite the efforts of people who are not indifferent, who are ready for changes. Then the third thing is to work out together the program that will lead to changes and really give an opportunity to get out of this crisis.

“Now is the second stage. And he’s very important. I want people who are not indifferent, who are ready, like me, to sacrifice their well-being, their normal life, their habitual way of life, to say: “I am ready to move to Armenia. I’m ready to stand next to you. I am ready to join the army and defend Armenia. I am ready to do everything so that there is peace in Armenia, but at the same time there is strong security.” Yes, of course, together we must work out an agenda, this is also a very important issue, and then it will be clear on this agenda.

“We need to have a social movement. What we are doing in the Future Armenian project already unites 108 thousand people from 107 countries. Mostly from Armenia. If it is 500 thousand people, if it is a million, then it will already be a fairly serious social movement that can say: “This is the agenda, and we want to go and work on this agenda.”

“We have already created a strategic development center, which develops a program of specific changes. In the near future, a center will be created related to the change in the management of the state and in general everything related to the management of future institutions. There are special teams of lawyers who work only on how to do what needs to be changed. Because it’s not that easy.”

“In the economic field, we can increase our GDP from $13 billion to $40 billion within ten years without heavy fantastic stories of finding oil or something. Simply by building the economy correctly and all the processes that need to be built. I am deeply convinced that we can attract 50 thousand families who will come to Armenia and who will add energy and changes to the very worthy people living there. II am deeply convinced that we can build a very strong army, which at the same time will not just protect, but will also be the engine of economic change, because it will be a technologically completely different army, and it will be an army that will order technology. I am deeply convinced that we can have a completely different level of positioning of Armenia in the world.

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The head of Zelensky’s office will be interrogated in the case of “PMCs fighters”

Nand the President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, may also be called for questioning. The country is looking for those responsible for the failure of the operation to detain 33 “PMCs” in the summer of 2020

The head of Zelensky's office will be interrogated in the case of

Vladimir Zelensky (right) and Andrey Ermak (left)

The State Bureau of Investigation (GBR) of Ukraine will summon the head of the office of the President Andrei Ermak for questioning in the case of the disruption of the operation to detain 33 Russians, acting Director of the GBR Alexey Sukhachev said on the air of the TV channel “1+1”.

“We will summon Mr. Ermak for questioning within a few days. Why aren’t we doing this today? Because we expect certain information from our colleagues from law enforcement agencies in the coming days,” he said.

However, so far the investigation has no evidence that Ermak is guilty of disrupting the operation, Sukhachev added.

When asked if it is possible that the President of Ukraine will be interrogated in the case, the acting head of the GBR noted that the investigator has the right to interrogate any person regardless of the official, “if there is a need,” Vladimir Zelensky will also be called for questioning.

The fact that Ermak could disrupt the operation, in mid-November, said the former head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Vasily Burba. According to him, on July 23, 2020, Ermak instructed to postpone the operation. “I got an answer that this is the president’s team. There was no written instruction,” Burba said (quoted by Interfax-Ukraine).

In his opinion, then the operation could not be postponed and, perhaps, it was because of this decision that it was failed. Among the reasons for the failure, he called the existence of a mole among officials who allegedly works for Russia, poor training and good work of the counterintelligence of Belarus.

Adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine and press secretary of the Kiev delegation in the contact group on Donbass Alexey Arestovich, in turn, suggested that the blame for the failure of the operation may lie with Burba himself. According to Arestovich, Burba repeatedly postponed the operation, and made the decision on the active phase without the consent of the president.

The Russians, whom the Belarusian KGB called the Wagner PMCs fighters, were detained near Minsk on July 29. Initially, they were suspected of preparing a terrorist attack and mass riots before the presidential election. However, Minsk later dropped all charges against the detainees and handed them over to Moscow, despite Ukraine’s request for extradition.

Ukraine denied its involvement in the detention of the Russians, but later confirmed that it had collected evidence on them. In June 2021, Zelensky said that other states were planning the operation, and Ukraine was trying to “drag” into it.

As CNN reported, during the operation, Kiev received funding and technical assistance from Washington. In addition, the CIA advised the Ukrainian side on organizing an operation against “Russian mercenaries”. Zelensky’s office called the CNN investigation a fake.

The FSB, on the contrary, confirmed the information to CNN and reported that they regard the incident with the detention of 33 Russians as an act of state terrorism prepared by the special services of Ukraine. According to the representative of the department, the Ukrainian special services under the leadership of the CIA specifically lured Russians to a neighboring country in order to quarrel between Russia and Belarus.

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The second Karabakh. Why did it start and how did it end

ROssia once again receives the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Her resolute mediation a year ago made it possible to stop the second Karabakh war. Why it started and how it developed – in the material of RBC

The second Karabakh. Why it started and how it ended

A year has passed since the end of the second Karabakh war, but many contradictions have remained unresolved. Because of this, armed clashes regularly break out on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan. On November 16, one of the shootings escalated into full-fledged fighting with the use of armored vehicles and artillery, killing more than ten people on both sides.

Last year’s conflict, which began on September 27 and lasted 44 days, became one of the bloodiest in the post-Soviet space – according to various sources, from 6 thousand to 10 thousand people were killed. At the same time, many provisions of the trilateral statement signed on the night of November 10 by the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, which put an end to the war, have not yet been implemented. The mandate of the Russian military in the region has not been clarified, Armenia and Azerbaijan have not concluded a full-fledged peace agreement.

How the war was stopped

One of the main intrigues left after the war is why the Azerbaijani army stopped and did not conquer the entire Armenian part of Nagorno-Karabakh. No later than November 7, she established control over the city of Shusha (Shushi in the Armenian version)— a strategic height dominating Stepanakert. At that time, only a couple hundred people remained in the capital of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) (including several members of the government and employees of the presidential office), civilians had already been evacuated.The leadership of the NKR left for the north to the village of Vank. On November 9, those who remained in the city were given automatic rifles and several magazines of ammunition for each, an interlocutor in the NKR government, who remained in Stepanakert until the last day of the war, told RBC. He is sure that in a day or two after the capture of Shusha, the Azerbaijani army could be in the capital of the NKR. “If I were in the place of [Ilham] Aliyev, I would take the whole of Karabakh,” says a former Armenian official, a participant in the first Karabakh war. But Azerbaijan did not go further than Shushi.

Two RBC interlocutors familiar with the content of the negotiations, It is claimed that this happened due to the fact that Moscow has tightened its rhetoric in negotiations with Baku. On one of the last days of the war, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a “tough” conversation with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the interlocutors of RBC say. An Armenian diplomat who participated in negotiations with Russia during the war also heard that Russia made an offer to Azerbaijan, which he could not refuse. The press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov, when asked by RBC whether Putin threatened Aliyev with force, replied: “No. This is complete stupidity.”

At the same time, a few hours before the announcement of the truce, under circumstances that were not fully explained, the Azerbaijanis shot down a Russian Mi-24 helicopter on Armenian territory near the border with Nakhichevan, killing two pilots. According to official information, the helicopter accompanied the convoy of the 102nd military base, which was moving in the direction of Nagorno-Karabakh. President Aliyev apologized for this, promised to punish the perpetrators, but the results of the investigation were not announced.

According to an Azerbaijani diplomatic source, the war ended with the capture of Shusha, because Baku fulfilled its tasks and occupied this strategic height over Stepanakert, and according to the agreements, Baku received three districts in addition to those that were captured during the fighting.

Moscow also conducted an active information campaign. Russian officials, including the head of foreign intelligence, Sergei Naryshkin, claimed last October that militants-mercenaries from terrorist organizations, including those from Jabhat al-Nusra, banned in Russia, were gathering in Karabakh. “However, we cannot but be concerned that TranscaucasiaIt can become a new springboard for international terrorist organizations, from where militants can subsequently infiltrate states adjacent to Azerbaijan and Armenia, including Russia,” Naryshkin said on October 6. In addition, according to him, “for the first time, Turkey has spoken so openly and unequivocally on the side of Azerbaijan.”

The first draft of the final document that ended the war appeared just on November 7, the day of the fall of Shusha, according to the interlocutors of RBC. On the night of November 9-10, the terms of the truce were announced— the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan simultaneously signed it online. Armenia has lost all seven districts of the “security belt”, as well as Hadrut and Shushi, cities of the former NKAO, and a number of villages. The parties agreed to deploy almost two thousand peacekeepers along the new linecontact for a period of five years. In the next few days, equipment and Russian peacekeepers arrived at the Erebuni airfield. The parties tried to agree on their mandate, but any discussion of it rested on the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku insists on recognizing territorial integrity and wants to discuss the parameters of the peacekeeping mission only with Moscow, without Armenia’s participation, a Russian diplomatic source says.

What preceded the war

The Tavush clashes were preceded by a fairly active negotiation process in 2019 and 2020. The parties discussed concrete proposals for a peaceful settlement “on paper”. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also spoke about this in April 2020. In May, the sides were preparing to start discussing each other’s ideas in detail, an Armenian diplomatic source claims. One of the recent proposals of Yerevan, for example, was the rejection of the old division”security belts” for seven districts were proposed instead to draw a new border of the NKR according to the coordinates. Such that it would be convenient for Armenians to defend it in case of escalation. This approach compensated Armenia for Azerbaijan’s unwillingness to immediately recognize the independence of the NKR. «Security in return for status»,— characterizes the approach of the interlocutor of RBC. However, due to the pandemic, all negotiations were put on pause.

Conflict history

The active confrontation over Nagorno-Karabakh has been going on between Yerevan and Baku for almost 30 years. This region, whose population is predominantly Armenians, declared independence from Azerbaijan in 1991. In 1992–1994, immediately after the collapse of the USSR, there was a war for him, in which the Armenians eventually won. In addition to the territory of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, Armenian formations also captured several districts of Azerbaijan: completely Kelbajar and Lachin, Kubatli, Jabrayil and Zangelan, and partially Aghdam and Fizuli.

How the war started

The day and time of the start of the second Karabakh war came as a surprise to Yerevan, according to the interlocutor of RBC in the Armenian government. This was confirmed by RBC and an interlocutor in the government of the unrecognized republic. According to him, the troops were put on full combat readiness a day or two before the first shots were fired.An army unit within the Republican army and subordinates to it, the interlocutors in Yerevan and Stepanakert confirmed to RBC. There is military service in Armenia, and many conscripts served in the ranks of the Defense Army before the war (although de jure the NKR and its institutions are independent of Armenia). Now this practice has stopped, the interlocutors of RBC say.

In Moscow, at least at the diplomatic level, at first they did not perceive the conflict that had begun as capable of changing the status quo in the region, a Russian diplomatic source tells RBC. According to Baku, the Armenians attacked first and Azerbaijan launched an offensive in response. A year later, there was no evidence that Armenia or the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic started the war. Yerevan believes that this was a planned offensive operation from the very beginning.

At the end of September, thousands of women, old people and children left Nagorno-Karabakh. The exit from the unrecognized republic for Karabakh men capable of holding weapons was closed. From the frontline towns and villages of Martuni, Hadrut and others, the mass flight took place in a hurry, people took only the most necessary things, even left pets, because they thought that the conflict would last no longer than a few days, as it was in April 2016. On departure froman unrecognized republic has formed a multi-kilometer traffic jam. Stepanakert, which had been hit by Azerbaijani artillery since the first days, was also quickly emptied. A few days after the start of the war, there were mostly only military men on the streets of the NKR capital, the rare civilians who remained in the city spent the night in bomb shelters. Before the war, more than 150 thousand Armenians lived in the region, now, according to peacekeepers, only 53 thousand have returned, a Russian diplomatic source told RBC.

How were the battles going

Azerbaijan was advancing in two main directions: in the northeast to Martakert, in the south to Fuzuli and Jabrail. Several Armenian rank-and-file and junior officers who held the defense in the north, in a conversation with RBC, expressed the opinion that this was an auxiliary direction, there were no such fierce battles as in the south, but Azerbaijan was constantly creatingtension to prevent the transfer of Armenian forces to the south, where the main blow fell. The main targets of the Azerbaijani artillery and aviation in the first days of the war were air defense systems. After the war, the Secretary of the NKR Security Council Samvel Babayan stated that in the first minutes of the conflict, the army lost about half of all air defense equipment.

For the first two weeks, the Armenian army quite confidently restrained the offensive of the Azerbaijani army. The fiercest fighting at that time took place in the south, in the Jabrayil direction – the flat part of Nagorno-Karabakh and the only place where it was possible to use heavy military equipment, in particular tanks. It was from the breakthrough that the front of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army fell here.

On October 4, Ilham Aliyev announced the capture of Jabrayil. This was the first major success of the Azerbaijani army in the south. On October 15, the Azerbaijani army occupied Hadrut, the first Armenian city of the former NKAO, and two days later – Fuzuli. From that moment on, the situation at the front became catastrophic for the Armenians. After the fall of Hadrut, there were signs of panic in the Armenian leadership, it became clear that assessments of the situation and forecasts strongly diverge from reality, recalls the interlocutor of RBC, who worked in the government of the country at that time. On October 22, Aliyev announced the establishment of control over the entire border of the NKR and Iran along the Araks River. Cannonade was heard in Goris, the first major city of Armenia on the way out of Karabakh.

How the parties tried to reach an agreement

All the time of the conflict, there were active negotiations on the cessation of hostilities. The first chance to stop the war appeared on October 7. On this day, Putin had telephone conversations with Pashinyan and Aliyev. Two days later, on October 9, the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan arrived in Moscow, Russia acted as an intermediary. Negotiations began at 4 p.m. and lasted 11 hours. As a result, the parties managed to agree on a truce. An additional condition was the deployment in the regionobservers of several dozen people from each side along the line of contact – at that time, the Armenian forces left only Jabrayil, an Armenian diplomat who participated in the negotiations told RBC. However, the truce announced on October 10 was disrupted in the first hours. Twice more, the parties announced a ceasefire on October 17 and 25, already with the mediation of France and the United States (the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries), but each time everything broke down in the first hours.

A week after the end of the war, Vladimir Putin said that the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh could have ended in October, but the Armenian side refused to accept a ceasefire offer that was beneficial to it. On October 19–20, the Russian president had a series of telephone conversations with Aliyev and Pashinyan. And, according to Putin, he managed to convince Aliyev that it is possible to stop the fighting. In return for the transfer of five districts of the “security belt” Baku agreed to stop the offensive and deploy Russian peacekeepers along the linecontacts, according to a source familiar with the content of the negotiations. An additional condition was the return of Azerbaijani refugees to Shusha, who lived in the city before the outbreak of the first Karabakh war (until 1992, Azerbaijanis made up about 90% of the city’s population). However, Pashinyan eventually refused the offer. Putin said that it was “unexpected” for him that Yerevan refused the offer to end the war on these terms, because “then the Azerbaijani armed forces regained control over a minor part, the southern part of Karabakh.”

This proposal differed from the final agreement in that Armenia retained two of the seven districts of the “security belt”, Kelbajar and Lachin, plus Shusha with Azerbaijani refugees in it , claims the interlocutor of RBC. And now there was a “completely different situation” from the point of view of security, he says. A border conflict like the one that occurred in mid-November of this year did not happen, since such a section of the interstate border did not arise, he adds.

The Armenian side questions this interpretation of the negotiations. According to the interlocutor of RBC in Yerevan, no unequivocal agreement was received from Baku on these conditions. However, he makes a reservation, if such consent was given, it was only in a personal conversation between the leaders of the countries, and this may explain why he is not aware of it.

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Vardanyan allowed to work “even as a cleaner, even as the president” of Armenia

MIllyarder, in an interview with RBC TV channel, spoke about plans to start a political career, and also admitted the possibility of becoming president of Armenia. At the same time, he noted that he is ready to take any position for the sake of the Armenian people

Vardanyan allowed to work «even as a cleaner, even as the president of» Armenia

Ruben Vardanyan

The ex-owner of the investment company Troika Dialog, billionaire Ruben Vardanyan ($1bn according to Forbes), in an interview with RBC TV channel, said that he intends to start a political career.

Answering the question whether he was going to go into Armenian politics, Vardanyan said that he has been asked about it very often lately. “I answer it [the question] briefly: yes. But in politics, which I believe, I formulate the answer to this question in a different way than just a political party, a desire to lead the country,” the businessman said.

Watch the full interview with Vardanyan at 10:10 on the RBC TV channel.

According to Vardanyan, he is now in an active phase of wanting to find answers to very important questions concerning the development of Armenia. “These are all issues that go beyond me as a businessman and go beyond my usual everyday life. In this sense, of course, I’m in politics,” he explained.

Answering the question whether he is ready to become President of Armenia, Vardanyan noted that he has also been asked about this “for many, many interviews”. “Now to want to lead the country in today’s state, from the point of view of the ordinary Armenian society, that he wants to be the leader of the country, it is necessary to be an illogical person. Because the country is in a very difficult state. The real future is completely unclear,” the businessman noted.

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The entrepreneur believes that the issue of preserving Armenia as an independent state is currently acute, therefore, in such a situation, taking on the responsibility of becoming the head of state is a very brave and risky person. “Everything I say, I always say, if the elite that consolidates and thinks together that this is the right decision for me or another, any decision is possible, because I am ready to be both a shoemaker for my nation, and a cleaner, and a leader,” Vardanyan said.

He added that in the question of whether to lead the country or not, the answer for himself is very simple: “If I have taken responsibility that I am one of those who is ready to be responsible for the future of Armenia, including for this, I must be ready for any position and any position that may be, like this, and may be completely different.” “For example, an ambassador to Guatemala, if it is important for Armenia,” Vardanyan added.

On November 16, fighting broke out on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the territory controlled by the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic before the war at the end of last year. One Armenian serviceman was killed during the shelling, 13 more became prisoners of war, the Ministry of Defense of Armenia reported. Azerbaijan claimed the death of seven soldiers and ten wounded.

Baku and Yerevan accused each other of aggravating the conflict. Secretary of the Armenian Security Council Armen Grigoryan said that the country’s authorities appealed to Moscow to protect the lands of Armenia under a 1997 bilateral agreement. He noted that, if necessary, the country uses the CSTO settlement mechanisms.

At that time, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu held telephone talks with the Defense Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan Suren Papikyan and Zakir Hasanov. On the same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border with the Prime Minister of Armenia. Soon Armenia and Azerbaijan stopped military operations.

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In Poland, there was a riot in the center for migrants

About 100 refugees staged riots in the center for illegal aliens, which is located near the border with Germany. Migrants tried to escape from the institution, but the security forces managed to stabilize the situation

There was a riot in a migrant center in Poland

Illegal migrants started a riot in a secure center for foreigners in Polish Venjin (Lubusz Voivodeship, located in western Poland and bordering Germany). This is reported by wPolityce.pl.

According to the portal, several hundred migrants tried to break the fences in order to escape from the territory of the center. The publication notes that this object appeared in the summer of this year on the site of the former military training center. The facility can accept several hundred illegal immigrants at the same time. According to the portal, foreigners who were detained for illegal stay in the republic are sent there.

Lubuska newspaper reported that, according to preliminary data, the reason for the riot was the preparation of the leadership of the center to send back to Iraq a group of several dozen people who “did not meet the conditions for obtaining the right of residence”.

According to the RMF radio station, 604 foreigners are currently on the territory of the center. All of them are men, 358 of them are citizens of Iraq. The rest are mostly Afghans.

The police reported that the migrants took out equipment and furniture from the premises of the center, after which they tried to set them on fire. Then the illegal immigrants attempted to break the fences. According to the press secretary of the regional branch of the Polish border guard, Joanna Konechniak, about 100 migrants staged riots, who chanted various slogans, in particular, that they intend to get to Germany. The center is well protected and surrounded by several fences. None of them has been crossed,” she added.

The press secretary of the Polish Border Guard, Anna Michalska, said that double and in some places triple fences were installed on the territory of the center. Therefore, as she assured, none of the illegal immigrants managed to escape from the territory of the center.

Later, the police of the Lubusz Voivodeship reported that the riot had been stopped. “After an attempt to break through the fence of the protected center in Venjin, where there are more than 600 migrants, the situation has stabilized. None of these people managed to escape,” the message says.

The migration crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border has been going on for several months: refugees are trying to reach the largest and economically developed EU countries through Poland. The situation in the border areas worsened on November 8, when a large convoy of migrants arrived at the border of Belarus with Poland. On the same day, Warsaw closed the border crossing «Smithy—«Bruzgi», near which migrants gathered.

On November 16, migrants threw stones at Polish security forces. After that, the Polish authorities issued an ultimatum to Minsk and threatened to restrict rail traffic if the situation did not improve. On November 19, the border committee of Belarus notified Poland that there were no more migrants on the border of the two countries, but Warsaw still restricted rail traffic.

Western countries have blamed Minsk and Moscow for the migration crisis. Belarus claims that Poland forcibly expels migrants to its territory and artificially escalates the situation with refugees. The Russian authorities deny all accusations of involvement in this crisis.

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What Putin, Aliyev and Pashinyan will try to agree on in Sochi

The leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet in Sochi. The two main and difficult topics on the agenda of the negotiations are the creation of a commission for the delimitation and demarcation of the border and the unfreezing of transport links in the region

What Putin, Aliyev and Pashinyan will try to agree on in Sochi

Nikol Pashinyan, Ilham Aliyev and Vladimir Putin (from left to right)

Why was the Sochi meeting postponed

On November 26, the Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia will meet in Sochi. The last time they saw each other in person was on January 11 in Moscow, when the main outcome of the negotiations was the creation of a deputy prime minister’s group for defrosting transport communications in the region. This time, Vladimir Putin, Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan will have to sum up the results of the year that passed after the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

“It is planned to review the implementation of the agreements of the leaders of the three countries of November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021, as well as outline further steps to strengthen stability and establish peaceful life in the region,” the Kremlin said in a statement.Special attention will be paid to the restoration and development of trade, economic and transport ties. In addition, separate conversations between Putin and Aliyev and Pashinyan are also envisaged.

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The meeting was postponed several times – it was supposed to take place two weeks earlier, the option was discussed to meet on the anniversary of the signing of the trilateral declaration that stopped the war, that is, on November 9–10. But the date did not suit the Armenian side, for which last year’s events are still associated not with peace, but with defeat, a Russian diplomatic source told RBC. The preparation of the meeting was confirmed by video link by the press secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov.

While there was no clarity on the meeting in Sochi, it became known that Pashinyan and Aliyev will meet on December 15 at the Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels. This was announced by the head of the European Council Charles Michel. “The leaders agreed to meet in Brussels to discuss the situation in the region and ways to overcome tensions for the sake of a prosperous and stable South Caucasus supported by the EU,” the statement said.

This greatly displeased Moscow, which at that time had been seeking a meeting with the mediation of Russia from the parties for more than a month, a Russian diplomatic source says. It looked like the parties to the conflict, and first of all Armenia, despite all the efforts that Russia has made to resolve it, preferredcommunicate with each other not through Moscow, but with the help of the European Union, explains the interlocutor of RBC. It was Yerevan’s unwillingness that prevented the heads of state from meeting in Russia, he notes. President Aliyev said in early October that he was ready to negotiate with Pashinyan “at any time”.

What will the three leaders try to agree on

One of the main topics that the leaders of the countries will discuss is the creation of a commission for the delimitation and demarcation of the border (this has not been done since 1991). At the beginning of the week, Pashinyan confirmed that a potential document on the creation of such a commission would be discussed at the talks.

Since the end of the war, clashes between the sides have taken place more than once. Ten days ago, on November 16, a full-fledged battle with the use of armored vehicles and artillery broke out for several hours on the border of the Syunik region of Armenia and the Kelbajar region of Azerbaijan. Several people from both sides were killed, 13 Armenians were captured. This is the most serious incident between the two countries over the past year.

The place where the shooting took place is one of the most problematic sections of the border. The constant tension is caused by the fact that the Kelbajar region, which was previously controlled by the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), passed to Azerbaijan after the war, and an interstate border of the two warring countries appeared where the administrative border between Armenia and the NKR used to be. The firsta serious incident occurred on May 12 last year- then in the area of the Black Lake (arm. Sev Lich) the Azerbaijani military entered, but the shooting was avoided. Both on May 12 and November 16, Yerevan verbally appealed to Moscow for military assistance (no written appeal was sent), as it considers this an encroachment on its territory, and Russia is bound by a bilateral treaty under which it must protect an ally.

According to the maps of the Soviet General Staff of the 1970s, which Moscow is guided by, Azerbaijan really violated the Armenian border, two Russian diplomatic sources told RBC. However, Baku insists that it has more recent GPS maps, says one of the interlocutors of RBC. “In fact, we are talking about Google Maps,” he notes. What documents should form the basis of the workThe future commission for the delimitation and demarcation of the border has also yet to be determined. “But the main thing is to launch its work in principle,” says a Russian diplomatic source. The Russian president proposed to focus on the Soviet maps on which the border of the Union republics passed, they are located in the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia.

The issue of unfreezing transport communications in the region has not been resolved either. A week ago, the parties continued to discuss the order of opening roads, says a Russian diplomatic source. Two days before the talks in Sochi, on November 24, Azerbaijan and Armenia were visited by Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk, who heads a delegation to the trilateral working group from the Russian side. In both capitals, he was received by the leaders of the states.

RBC wrote earlier about the proposals on the table of the deputy prime ministers. The most profitable road for Azerbaijan is through the Syunik region of Armenia in the south along the border with Iran – this is the shortest way that can connect the country with the autonomous Nakhichevan. Armenia insists that the restoration of the branch line through Ijevan should begin simultaneously with this road. Both of these roads worked inSoviet times, but over 30 years of conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh were either dismantled or destroyed. In addition, Yerevan is already offering to unblock the Yerevan— Tbilisi— Baku railway. Azerbaijan insists that the road through Meghri should be opened first, and then all other ways.

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Lukashenko accused the United States of trying to start a war with Belarus

Paccording to the Belarusian president, the Americans want to “create a mess in Belarus” with the hands of Poles, Balts and Ukraine. According to him, Russian President Vladimir Putin sees the same situation

Lukashenko accused the United States of trying to start a war with Belarus

Alexander Lukashenko

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko believes that the United States is using the migration crisis on the border with the EU to start a war. According to the BelTA news agency, he stated this at a joint meeting of the Constitutional Commission and the working group on finalizing the draft Constitution.

“They need to get closer to Moscow. And then here’s the “balcony” left again, hinders them, it is necessary to cut it off. And they will cut», — he said.

Lukashenko called what is happening on the border a stage of rebellion or a “color revolution”. In his opinion, NATO’s involvement in the settlement of the refugee situation is nothing more than provoking war. “Europe does not want war. Who needs this war? The Belarusian president told the Americans.

In his opinion, the United States wants to start a war “with the hands of Poles, Balts and Ukrainians”. “It’s necessary to create a mess somewhere here again. And they will watch on the sidelines and supply weapons so that we kill each other and the economy will go down. They will come here again with the dollar they are printing now to help us,” Lukashenko said.

According to him, Russian President Vladimir Putin is also looking at these events. “It’s aimed against them first of all. And how to get there if Ukraine and Belarus? With Ukraine, you see what has happened, and Belarus is resisting,” he explained.

The migration crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border has been going on for several months: refugees are trying to reach the largest and economically developed EU countries through Poland. The situation in the border areas worsened on November 8, when a large convoy of migrants arrived at the border of Belarus with Poland. On the same day, Warsaw closed the border crossing «Smithy—«Bruzgi», near which migrants gathered.

On November 16, migrants threw stones at Polish security forces. After that, the Polish authorities issued an ultimatum to Minsk and threatened to restrict rail traffic if the situation did not improve. On November 19, the Border Committee of Belarus notified Poland that there were no more migrants on the border of the two countries, but Warsaw still restricted rail traffic.

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