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Armenian MP says situation around hostage-taking in Yerevan is dead end

July 17, 23:46 UTC+3 YEREVAN
"All understand that this situation cannot last forever and we have just a few hours to prevent further bloodshed," Nikol Pashinyan, an opposition member of the Armenian parliament, said
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© Karo Sahakyan/PAN Photo via AP, архив

YEREVAN, July 17. /TASS/. An Armenian lawmaker said on Sunday the situation around hostage-taking at a patrol and inspection police regiment in Yerevan seems to be a dead end.

Nikol Pashinyan, an opposition member of the Armenian parliament, was the only civilian to visit the regiment seized by armed people on Sunday morning.

"It seems to be a deadlock situation. More bloodshed is not excluded," he said. "All understand that this situation cannot last forever and we have just a few hours to prevent further bloodshed."

He called on Armenia’s politicians and citizens to "spare no effort to prevent further victims, further bloodshed."

Pashinyan had planned to visit Zhirair Sefilyan, who was arrested in June on suspicion of organizing an armed group that had been preparing the seizure of the Yerevan TV Center and other important facilities, at a penitentiary on Sunday to explain the situation to him. However he was denied permission. Nevertheless he pledged he will do his best to meet with the arrested radical opposition activist to "hear his point of view on the situation and ways out of it."

According to the lawmaker, the rebels Sefilyan be released and be taken to the place of negotiations with the authorities. "Another demand is resignation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and formation of an interim government of people’s trust and accord," Pashinyan said.

The situation around hostage-taking is "calm but extremely tense, it may run out of control any minute, entailing dozens of victims," he said. "The lives of all those at the regiment, in the city district, in Yerevan, in Armenia are in danger. This situation is a threat to dozens, if not hundreds of people. We must take measures to save these people, to prevent more victims."

Pashinyan said the rebels he had spoken with "are not going to surrender and will offer resistance in case of police action." In his words, the rebels have "enough weapons" they have seized from the regiment.

In the meantime, Armenia’s police and security forces are on alert but have not been ordered to stage any operations.

According to law enforcers, about 30 armed supporters of the radical opposition broke into the territory of a patrol and inspection police regiment in Yerevan at about 05:00 a.m. local time (04:00 a.m. Moscow time) having rammed its gates in a truck. As a result of the shootout, there are persons injured from both sides. The armed men took hostage both the patrol and inspection police personnel and police officials who had arrived at the scene for negotiations.

According to some data, the attackers are holding captive Armenian Deputy Police Chief Major-General Vartan Yegiazaryan.

Considerable police forces and interior troops have been brought to the scene of the attack. Armored vehicles and military trucks have blocked the approaches to the patrol and inspection police regiment. Both motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic has been blocked. There are disruptions with the work of the Internet.

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