Prominent General Blames Pashinian For Karabakh Defeat

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Armenia – Colonel-General Movses Hakobian, chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff, visits an army recruitment center in Yerevan, 8 January 2018.

Hakobian charged in particular that three days after the outbreak of the war on September 27 Pashinian stopped the reinforcement of Karabakh Armenian army units with reservists drafted as part of a military mobilization.

“The country’s prime minister issued an order to stop the reinforcement and send volunteers to the frontline instead on the third day of the war,” Hakobian told a news conference held one day after he resigned as head of the Armenian Defense Ministry’s Military Oversight Service. He described Pashinian’s alleged decision as a “crime.”

Hakobian said that many of the volunteers sent from Armenia were poorly trained and could not help frontline troops struggling to repel Azerbaijani attacks. He claimed that more than a thousand of them deserted their units within days.

“Officials responsible for that process cannot deny this and they know that they will eventually be held accountable for not performing that [reinforcement] function. The conversation was recorded,” he said without elaborating.

Pashinian was quick to strongly deny the allegations through his press secretary, Mane Gevorgian.

“I think that Armenian law-enforcement bodies must investigate all statements made by Mr. Hakobian and that they must be clarified and evaluated one by one,” said Gevorgian.

Prosecutor-General Artur Davtian said afterwards that his office has sent video of the Karabakh-born general’s news conference to the Special Investigative Service for examination.

Hakobian, 55, is a prominent veteran of the first Karabakh war of 1991-1994. He was the commander of Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army before serving as chief of the General Staff of Armenia’s Armed Forces from 2016-2018. Pashinian sacked him shortly after coming to power in May 2018.

Hakobian also criticized on Thursday arms acquisitions carried out by Armenia’s current leadership. He singled out the purchase of Russian Su-30SM fighter jets and second-hand air-defense systems, saying that none of them proved useful in the latest war.

Hakobian said the former Armenian government had planned to use the funds spent on these weapons for buying more advanced air-defense systems from Russia. They would have enabled Karabakh Armenian forces to shoot down many more Azerbaijani combat drones that caused them substantial losses.

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