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Armenian authorities continue negotiating release of hostages

July 19, 14:52 UTC+3 YEREVAN
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YEREVAN, July 19. /TASS/. The situation around the building of police regiment in Yerevan seized by armed attackers is calm, with the area cordoned off by police forces. The authorities said on Tuesday they continue negotiating the release of the four hostages.

According to Nikol Pashinyan, a parliament member with the opposition, the situation is being interpreted only from the criminal point of view by the Armenian National Security Service and police whereas it "needs to be assessed from the political point of view." He insists the situation be discussed at the parliament.

"Now, the key task is to prevent bloodshed and try to avoid a force operation on hostage release," he said.

Opposition activists claim mobile phones of those who are holding hostages were switched off today which may mean the police are preparing an operation to storm the building.

In the meantime, the situation in Yerevan is calm, with shops, cafes and transport working as usual. Yerevan’s international airport Zvartnots and other infrastructure facilities are operating in a routine regime.

A group of about 30 armed supporters of the radical opposition broke into the territory of a police regiment in Yerevan, Armenia, in the small hours on July 17 having rammed its gates in a truck. In the ensuing shootout, a deputy squad commander was killed, while some of the attackers and some policemen suffering injuries.

The armed persons took hostage both the patrol and inspection police personnel and police officials who had arrived at the scene for negotiations, in particular, Armenian Deputy Police Chief Major-General Vartan Yegiazaryan and Deputy Head of the Yerevan Police Department Colonel Valery Osipyan who had approached the assailants for talks. In the chaos that followed, the assailants managed to abduct police officers and law enforcement officials who arrived at the scene for negotiations. Among those taken hostage are two senior police officials, Major General Vartan Yegiazaryan, Armenia’s deputy police chief, and Colonel Valery Osipyan, Yerevan’s deputy police chief. Several hostages have been reportedly released.

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