By Astghik Bedevian
YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Citing a coronavirus outbreak within its ranks, Armenia’s political and military leadership on Friday avoided holding festive events to mark the 30th anniversary of the official creation of the national armed forces on January 28.
Senior officials instead issued written statements on the occasion and laid flowers at the Yerablur military pantheon in Yerevan where hundreds of Armenian soldiers killed during the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh were buried.
Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan, who led a government delegation visiting Yerablur, said that an official reception dedicated to the army jubilee was “postponed” due to a spate of COVID-19 infections.
The government announced on January 26 that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has tested positive for the coronavirus for the second time in 20 months and gone into self-isolation. The Armenian Defense Ministry said the following day that a group of high-ranking military officers have also been infected. It did not name them.
Pashinyan and many other officials were among several hundred guests who attended on January 22 Defense Ministry Suren Papikyan’s lavish wedding celebrated at a restaurant amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the country. Grigoryan dismissed suggestions that many of them may have caught the virus there.