Armenia entered on Saturday three days of mourning in memory of the victims of the conflict with Azerbaijan in Nagorny Karabakh, which weakened Prime Minister Nicol Pashinian.
“The whole nation has lived and is going through a nightmare,” Nicol Pachinian said in a video address before a procession he is to lead to a memorial in Yerevan where the victims are buried.
“Sometimes it seems that all our dreams have been shattered and our optimism destroyed,” he added, as the opposition, which is planning a competing parade on Saturday, calls for his resignation.
Arrived in business thanks to a peaceful revolution in 2018 by embodying the hopes of the population to replace corrupt post-Soviet elites, he has been widely criticized since the defeat of the Armenian forces to the Azerbaijani army in Nagorny Karabakh.
More than 5,000 people, including civilians, have been killed in the two ex-Soviet countries in the conflict that erupted in late September around the Armenian-populated enclave in Azerbaijan.
A humiliating deal for Armenia was signed under the auspices of Moscow on November 9, granting significant territorial gains to Turkey-backed Azerbaijan, even though Nagorno Karabakh survives less.
This agreement has provoked anger in Armenia, where the opposition is demonstrating almost every day for the resignation of the prime minister and calls for a general strike from December 22.
Under the signed agreement, Russia has deployed some 2,000 peacekeepers to Karabakh. A Russian deminer was killed by an explosion this week.