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Helicopter carrying Armenian PM makes emergency landing

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s aircraft had to make an unexpected stop due to inclement weather.

A helicopter carrying Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has made an emergency landing in the northern part of the country, according to a social media post from the prime minister on Saturday. The aircraft landed in the town of Vanadzor without incident.

Media reports suggest that the helicopter landed at a local stadium in Vanadzor, which is located some 70km from Armenia’s border with neighboring Georgia.

Explaining the reason for the incident, Pashinyan said that “bad weather conditions” were to blame, while providing assurances that “everything is fine” and that he and his entourage “will continue the trip by car.”

Local media reported that the Armenian leader was heading to the city of Tashir, not far from the Georgian border. Conflicting reports, however, suggested that he was on his way to the village of Baganis on the border with Azerbaijan.

Relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan have been strained by decades of tensions, including over the now-defunct self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, which was dissolved in September 2023 after Baku’s military operation in the area. This triggered an exodus of refugees from what was once a predominantly ethnic Armenian region. In late April, however, the countries began the process of delimiting the border.

Pashinyan also uploaded a video in which he greets military personnel in Vanadzor, while another part of the clip shows his camouflaged helicopter flying in foggy weather in the hilly terrain.

The emergency landing comes after a helicopter crash killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and several other senior officials last week.

The Iranian authorities have found no evidence that the aircraft was attacked, while local media reported that it went missing after hitting a cloud bank.

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