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Marine Martirosyan

Armenian Painter in Kyiv: "No Armenian Has Fled"

Artist Boris Yeghiazaryan, who lives in Kyiv, says that there is no panic in the Ukrainian capital, nor among local Armenians.

Yesterday, Bishop Makar Hovhannisyan, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Ukraine, appealed to Armenians to remain calm and not to panic.

Mr. Yeghiazaryan, who was born in Aparan (Armenia) and moved to Ukraine in 1993, says some 40,000 Armenians live in Kiev, and in all of Ukraine – some 450,000.

 "No Armenian has fled. Weeks ago, there was a flash mob organized by the Ukrainians, saying that they are united, ready to defend their country. Armenians actively participated in that flash mob. No Armenian left. I do not know any Armenian who fled to Armenia," he says.

Mr. Yeghiazaryan expected that Russian-Ukrainian tensions would lead to a large-scale escalation. He notes that U.S. President Biden announced as much a few days ago. Even Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy didn’t believe that Russia would invade Ukraine.

The artist is convinced that the Ukrainian army can push back the Russian forces and they’ll fail to occupy Kyiv, let alone the whole country.

"We did not believe that Belarus would permit Russian troops to enter Ukraine through its territory, but it did," Mr. Yeghiazaryan says, adding that the most dangerous invasion direction is from the north, from Belarus, where the border is 150 kilometers from Kiev.

He says the situation is also difficult in those parts of the Donetsk region that are under the control of Ukraine. Russian forces are trying to capture them. The situation is also difficult in Kharkov, which is only forty kilometers from the Russian border.

Mr. Yeghiazaryan says Russian troops have advanced some twenty kilometers towards Kharkov and that the Ukrainian military has halted their forward movement. Fighting there continues, he says.

“We have to wait for new sanctions against Russia. Of course, they aren’t sending troops fighters, but they provide weapons to Ukraine. Ukrainians serving in the Israeli army have asked to be sent here to fight. Countries may not provide troops, but volunteers will come," says Mr. Yeghiazaryan, adding that Ukraine wants peace.

"Putin wants to force Ukraine not to join the European Union and NATO," he says, adding that Ukraine still sees its future in those structures.

"The people are armed. If they come here, in every village, in every house, people have weapons. They will shoot back from every window. They cannot capture us.”

(Hetq talked to Boris Yeghiazaryan on February 24, 7 pm Yerevan time.)

Photo: From Boris Yeghiazaryan's Facebook page, author: Elena Bozhko

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