Armenians Throng Center of the Capital to Demand the Prime Minister’s Resignation

Armenians rally to demand Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's resignation over land transfer to neighboring Azerbaijan, at the central Republic Square in Yerevan on May 26, 2024. (AFP)
Armenians rally to demand Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's resignation over land transfer to neighboring Azerbaijan, at the central Republic Square in Yerevan on May 26, 2024. (AFP)
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Armenians Throng Center of the Capital to Demand the Prime Minister’s Resignation

Armenians rally to demand Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's resignation over land transfer to neighboring Azerbaijan, at the central Republic Square in Yerevan on May 26, 2024. (AFP)
Armenians rally to demand Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's resignation over land transfer to neighboring Azerbaijan, at the central Republic Square in Yerevan on May 26, 2024. (AFP)

Tens of thousands of demonstrators held a protest Sunday in the center of the capital of Armenia, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan after Armenia agreed to hand over control of several border villages to Azerbaijan.

The demonstration was the latest in a weekslong series of gatherings led by a high-ranking cleric in the Armenian Apostolic Church, Bagrat Galstanyan, archbishop of the Tavush diocese in Armenia's northeast.

He spearheaded the formation of a movement called Tavush For The Homeland after Armenia in April agreed to cede control of four villages in the region to Azerbaijan. Although the villages were the movement's core issue, it has expanded to express a wide array of complaints about Pashinyan and his government.

Movement leaders told the rally Sunday that they support Galstanyan becoming the next prime minister.

The decision to turn over the villages in Tavush followed the lightning military campaign in September in which Azerbaijan’s military forced ethnic Armenian separatist authorities in the Karabakh region to capitulate.

After Azerbaijan took full control of Karabakh, about 120,000 people fled the region, almost all of its ethnic Armenian population.

Ethnic Armenian fighters backed by Armenian forces had taken control of Karabakh in 1994 at the end of a six-year war. Azerbaijan regained some of the territory in fighting in 2020 that ended in an armistice that brought in a Russian peacekeeper force, which began withdrawing this year.

Pashinyan has said Armenia needs to quickly define the border with Azerbaijan to avoid a new round of hostilities.



US, Ukraine Ink 10-year Defense Agreement

US President Joe Biden attends a flags ceremony with paratroopers at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
US President Joe Biden attends a flags ceremony with paratroopers at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
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US, Ukraine Ink 10-year Defense Agreement

US President Joe Biden attends a flags ceremony with paratroopers at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
US President Joe Biden attends a flags ceremony with paratroopers at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

US President Joe Biden and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed a 10-year bilateral security agreement on Thursday aimed at bolstering Ukraine's defense against Russian invaders.

The agreement, signed on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy, is meant to be a step towards Ukraine's eventual NATO membership, according to the text of the deal.

"The parties recognize this agreement as supporting a bridge to Ukraine’s eventual membership in the NATO alliance," the text says, according to Reuters.

Zelenskiy has long sought NATO membership but the allies have stopped short of taking that step. The Western alliance regards any attack launched on one of its 32 members as an attack on all under its Article Five clause.

In the event of an armed attack or threat of such against Ukraine, top US and Ukrainian officials will meet within 24 hours to consult on a response and determine what additional defense needs are required for Ukraine, the agreement says.

Under the agreement, the United States restates its support for Ukraine's defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, amid a renewed push by Russia on Ukraine's eastern front.

"To ensure Ukraine’s security, both sides recognize Ukraine needs a significant military force, robust capabilities, and sustained investments in its defense industrial base that are consistent with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)standards," the text says.

"The United States intends to provide long-term materiel, training and advising, sustainment, intelligence, security, defense industrial, institutional, and other support to develop Ukrainian security and defense forces that are capable of defending a sovereign, independent, democratic Ukraine and deterring future aggression," it says.