Fighting continued on Monday, September 28, 2020 along the full length of the Line of Contact between Artsakh and Azerbaijan, after the launch of an assault by Azerbaijan the previous day that has been unprecedented, even when compared to the Four Day April War of 2016.
The regions of Martakert and Hadrut in particular have remained under continuous artillery assaults, while Artsakh Defense Army forces were able to recover previous advances by Azerbaijani troops. According to the latest official update, Armenian troops have suffered 58 casualties, some of them as young as 18 years old.
The Line of Contact is subject to a ceasefire agreement reached in 1994, which left Nagorno-Karabakh, now officially the Republic of Artsakh, with a de facto independence pending a lasting settlement at the negotiation table. While that ceasefire has been violated sporadically over the past 26 years, the latest Azerbaijani offensive is no minor skirmish. The most salient factor this time is the direct involvement of Turkey.
Although Turkey has always supported Azerbaijan in the conflict, most notably by imposing a blockade along its eastern border with Armenia, in the past, it tried to maintain some semblance of a fair dealer, as it sought to play a more prominent role as a mediator in the conflict and ongoing negotiations, alongside the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs the United States, France and Russia. However, after tensions flared up into artillery barrages between the internationally-recognized Armenia-Azerbaijan border in July, Turkey has gone all in to support Turkic-speaking Azerbaijan. Armenian officials accuse Turkey of actively planning and assisting Azerbaijan in its latest offensive. Though the reports are unconfirmed, Turkey has been accused of transporting mercenaries from Syria, ostensibly members of terrorist groups, to Azerbaijan to take part in the offensive and its F-16s have been observed providing air support.
While Azerbaijan has attempted to cast its attack as a retaliation, it is abundantly clear that it had premeditated the operation. Following joint military drills with Turkey over the summer, Azerbaijani officials had begun commandeering civilian pickup trucks on September 22 under military mobilization powers. U.S. officials may have also been tipped off about the impending hostilities. The U.S. embassy in Baku had advised U.S. citizens not to travel beyond the greater Baku area on September 25, just two days before the attack on September 27. The U.S. embassy in Yerevan also issued a similar alert the same day urging U.S. citizens to avoid travel near the line of contact and the border, including the area north of the Dilijan National Park, up to the border with Georgia in Tavush region and to not travel to Nagorno-Karabakh. Most notably, Azerbaijan had recently criticized the impasse at the negotiation table and rejected Armenia’s calls for the installation of gunfire locators that would positively identify the instigator of any future ceasefire violations.
More likely, Azerbaijan sees the attack as retaliation for its setbacks in July on the border with Tavush, during which it lost a strategic outpost. As an authoritarian ruler, the loss hit at the legitimacy of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. He was quick to find scapegoats, sacking his long-time Foreign Affairs Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and arresting several diplomats on corruption charges. He also highlighted waste in the state run oil company and announced plans to privatize it. Highlighting internal corruption is a risky move, though. The Aliyev family featured prominently in several international-scale corruption exposes, including the Panama Papers and the Azerbaijani Laundromat. His family retains stakes in several large businesses and has monopolized political power. Ilham Aliyev succeeded his father Heydar Aliyev as President in 2003 and installed his wife Mehriban Aliyeva as Vice President in 2017.
Armenia is no stranger to corruption itself. Following the Velvet Revolution of 2018 and the change in government, revelations about embezzled military supplies impacting the Armenian Army’s combat-readiness during the 2016 Four Day April War were met with outrage. One particularly high-profile criminal proceeding was launched against General Manvel Grigoryan, a former MP with Serzh Sargsyan’s Republican Party of Armenia. Among other materiel, rations as basic as canned meat marked “Not For Sale – Soldier’s Ration” had been found at his home.
Widespread perception of corruption, compounded by some territorial losses in 2016, played a role in the public outcry for Serzh Sargsyan’s resignation in 2018. Despite greater military spending by Azerbaijan, if Armenia and Artsakh have been successful in employing their resources more efficiently, it will provide an important advantage. Further losses by Azerbaijan could put Aliyev’s leadership in jeopardy, especially after economic problems caused by a global oil price collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the stakes are raised, there is a potential for the conflict to spill over into the wider region. With Turkey’s new bellicose rhetoric and direct involvement, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called on the international community to rein in Erdogan. If Turkey were to take a drastic step like bombing or invading the Republic of Armenia, Armenia would call upon its CSTO ally Russia, which operates military and air bases in Armenia, to come to its defense, bringing Russia in conflict with a NATO member, which could evoke Article 5 of the NATO treaty which spells out that an attack against one member is an attack against all. While Erdogan’s abrasiveness against its NATO allies in Syria and the eastern Mediterranean now casts doubt about whether he would be able to attract their sympathies, that is a nightmare scenario that cooler heads must ensure remains only an academic thought exercise.
Below is a chronology of official updates, starting from 12:50 a.m. on September 28.
12:50 a.m.: Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan meets with Defense Ministry and Armed Forces Leadership
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited the Ministry of Defense, where he met with the leadership of the Armed Forces, led by Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Onik Gasparyan and Deputy Minister of Defense Gabriel Balayan.
The senior staff of the Armed Forces briefed the Prime Minister on the situation following the hostilities launched by Azerbaijan on the Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact and the retaliatory action taken by the Armenian Armed Forces with a view to suppressing the enemy’s activity.
Prime Minister Pashinyan stated that victory is the only task set before the Armenian Armed Forces. He noted that, as always, the entire Armenian nation stands by the Army.
1 a.m.: Anna Naghdalyan, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Foreign Affairs Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan had separate phone conversations with U.S. First Deputy Secretary of State Steven Bigan, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece Nikos Dendias regarding the current situation caused by Azerbaijan’s attack.
1 a.m.: Health Minister Arsen Torosyan tweeted: All elective medical care to be suspended in Armenia per my decree to enable proper urgent care for wounded military & civilians from Artsakh. Only emergency & urgent care for other citizens to be allowed.
8:10 a.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defense Ministry wrote that the fighting continued overnight, with the Armenian Armed Forces having registered significant success. He went on to say, however, that the situation is not calm as battles are continuing. In some areas, there are artillery battles taking place. Hovhannisyan went on to say that loss figures reported by the Azerbaijani side regarding Armenian troops are fabricated.
Last night, the Armenian Defense Ministry announced that, as a result of a push by Armenian forces, 11 Azerbaijani armored vehicles and their combat equipment were seized, including a BMP-3 [Soviet and Russian infantry vehicle].
8:35 a.m.: According to Shushan Stepanyan, the battles continued at night with different intensity. Early in the morning, Azerbaijan resumed its offensive operations, using artillery, armored vehicles, including the “TOS” heavy artillery system. At 11 a.m. Stepanyan said that the Armenian side did not suffer any losses from use of the TOS.
8:40 a.m.: Early in the morning, Armenia’s Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan held a consultation with the top brass of the Defense Ministry and the General Staff of the Armed Forces. The Minister was briefed about the operative situation on the Artsakh-Azerbaijani Line of Contact and on Armenia’s state border. They also discussed the situation after military operations launched by the Azerbaijani side. Tonoyan gave instructions on restraining the adversary and providing necessary support to the Defense Army.
9 a.m.: According to Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan, after Armenian forces retook a number of posts, several dozen bodies of Azerbaijani soldiers have been found on the Armenian side.
9:10 a.m.: Arayik Harutyunyan, President of Artsakh Addresses the Armenian Nation
“Dear compatriots in the Diaspora and in the homeland,
“For the second day in a row, we are involved in large-scale hostilities unleashed by the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan. Tonight, the Defense Army carried out several brilliant military operations, restored lost positions in various parts along the defense line and made some progress.
“I am proud and thankful to our army and our command for their readiness and high spirits.
“I am proud and thankful to our people for their expressed vigilance and for their devotion to the Homeland and the frontline.
“I am proud and thankful to our compatriots and the authorities of the Republic of Armenia for their unconditional support.
“I am proud and thankful for the thousands of calls and words from our compatriots around the diaspora.
“I express my condolences to the relatives of all our boys who died during this time. We are proud and thankful.
“I once again address you all with an unconditional faith and a sense of victory. It is impossible to defeat a nation that turns into a strong and united army within hours.
“The victory will be ours.”
11 a.m.: Live Press Conference by Artsrun Hovhannisyan
During a press conference, Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that fighting continued during the night along the border of Artsakh, especially in the northern and southern directions. Armenian Armed Forces managed to improve their military positions, but the adversary launched counterattacks, which were successfully thwarted. Early in the morning, the Azerbaijani side resumed the use of heavy artillery and attacks. Information about additional losses has been reported and Hovhannisyan noted that the Defense Army will provide updates as they become verified and finalized. At this point, Armenian forces have 200 wounded; everyone is receiving adequate medical care in military and civilian hospitals and some of them were transferred to Yerevan. Hovhannisyan noted that the entire healthcare system stands ready and is providing all the necessary services.
While answering reporters’ questions, Hovhannisyan confirmed that the Armenian side regained control of some military positions and additional information will become available during the day. Hovhannisyan also said that, at the moment, the Armenian side does not have any Azerbaijani hostages but several dozen bodies of Azerbaijani soldiers have been found on the Armenian side.
Hovhannisyan confirmed that the Azerbaijani side continues targeting civilian settlements and that Martakert was under artillery bombardment, for which a video will be posted after the briefing. He went on to say that the Armenian side does not have hundreds of deaths and that the Azerbaijani side is spreading disinformation. Hovhannisyan also dismissed claims that people are being evacuated from Artsakh. He called on citizens to restrict calls to Artsakh, especially to soldiers, because congestion on communications links would adversely impact security in the area.
Answering a question about whether Azerbaijan can be identified as a terrorist country, considering that they are employing soldiers from terrorist organizations [from Syria], Hovhannisyan noted that the Armenian side has to do its part to inform the appropriate organizations.
12:50 p.m.: Zaruhi Batoyan, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs on Offers to Assist Armenians of Artsakh
“Yesterday, I made an announcement that the state bodies will be able to deal with the housing issue if necessary. But, as I noted, that is not needed at the moment.
“The statements of citizens expressing their readiness to host others in their apartments and homes once again demonstrates our unity. However, according to our data, at the moment, there are more people who want to help our compatriots than our brothers and sisters who need it.
“With regard to the spontaneous wishes to host children and their families who have arrived from Artsakh, please restrain and do not spread these.
“My dear, strong and victorious people, we will turn to you if necessary. Just keep in touch with The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of Armenia.
1:30 p.m.: Shushan Stepanyan, the spokesperson of the Defense Ministry wrote the following: “Battles are continuing with varying intensity. Defense Army units are successfully carrying out punitive actions in separate sections. The fighting spirit of our servicemen is high.”
2:30 p.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that the intensity and frequency of artillery use by Azerbaijani military is unprecedented. “Never before have we seen such intensity in this region,” he said, adding that the response of the Armenian side has been “outstanding.” Earlier, Hovhannisyan said that the city of Martakert in Artsakh and its nearby areas remain under attack.
3 p.m.: According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, another 27 soldiers were killed in battle, bringing the total number of Armenian casualties to 58. Below are the names of those 28 soldiers:
Aghbalyan, Tigran, born 2001
Gevorgyan, Karen, born 2000
Gasparyan, Vahe, born 2000
Sargsyan, Sargis, born 2002
Ghazaryan Harutyun, born 2000
Simonyan, Aram, born 2001
Harutyunyan, Narek, born 2001
Gevorgyan, Aghasi, born 2000
Badalyan, Davit, born 2001
Grigoryan, Hayk, born 2001
Martirosyan, Alex, born 2001
Babayan, Georgi, born 2001
Tovmasyan, Shant, born 2000
Hakobyan, Henrik, born 2002
Khachatryan, Arman, born 2001
Sargsyan, Narek, born 2001
Gharibyan, Artashes, born 1999
Hovakimyan, Mher, born 2000
Haykyan, Nikolay, born 1972
Poghosyan, Arman, born 1992
Mikayelyan, Aghasi, born 1992
Mazmanyan, Smbat, born 1998
Keshishyan, Harutyun, born 1986
Marukyan, Samvel, born 1998
Mirzoyan, Vahe, born 2000
Yeliseev, Hovhannes, born 2001
Grigoryan, Aram, born 2000
Health Minister Arsen Torosyan in Artsakh
3:30 p.m.: Armenia’s Health Minister Arsen Torosyan, earlier today, tweeted that all elective medical care will be suspended in Armenia per his decree to enable proper urgent care for wounded military and civilians from Artsakh. Only emergency and urgent care for other citizens will be allowed. Later, Torosyan traveled to the capital of Artsakh, Stepanakert and met with President of Artsakh Arayik Harutyunyan, State Minister Grigori Martirosyan and Health Minister Ararat Ohanjanyan to discuss matters of providing necessary medical care. Torosyan noted that more than 100 wounded servicemen and civilians were transferred to hospitals in Yerevan since the start of the Azerbaijani offensive.
Statement by Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
As of September 28, Azerbaijan’s large-scale aggression against Artsakh is ongoing.
The statements of the international community, including the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and their states, on the escalation of the situation along the line of contact between Artsakh and Azerbaijan demonstrates that the international community condemns the use of force and the undermining of regional peace and security. While facing this united position of the international community, the Azerbaijani side resorts to spreading obvious lies by accusing the Armenian side of instigating the hostilities.
There are undeniable facts that it is Azerbaijan who initiated this aggression. For years, Azerbaijan has consistently violated the 1994-1995 trilateral agreements on the establishment of ceasefire regime, which have no time limitation, has been rejecting the proposals of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship on introducing investigation mechanisms of ceasefire violations and the strengthening of the ceasefire monitoring, thus retaining the possibilities of the use of force and instigating a “blame game.” The fact that, on September 25, Azerbaijan rejected the request of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office to monitor the Line of Contact is a case in point, which clearly reveals Azerbaijan’s objectives to cover up its plans to unleash a war.
The current aggression of Azerbaijan against Artsakh has two features.
Azerbaijan publicly denounced the peace process at the level of President Aliyev and formulated an objective to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through initiating full-fledged war.
Second, to this end, Azerbaijan receives large-scale military-political support from Turkey. Notably, Turkey has been supporting Azerbaijan within the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict since the 1990s, when it imposed a land blockade on the Republic of Armenia. However, Turkey’s support for this aggression and its involvement in its preparation has undergone qualitative changes and is characterized by its direct presence on the ground.
Turkish military experts are fighting side-by-side with Azerbaijan, who are using Turkish weapons, including UAVs and warplanes. According to credible sources, Turkey is recruiting and transporting foreign terrorist fighters to Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, Turkey provides full political and propaganda support to Azerbaijan at the highest level of its leadership.
The situation on the ground clearly indicates that the people of Artsakh are fighting against the Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance. Turkey, which a century ago annihilated the Armenian people in their historical homeland and up until now tries to justify that crime, now supports Azerbaijan by all possible means to carry out the same genocidal acts in the South Caucasus. This genocidal Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance is a serious threat to the peoples of the region.
Armenia and Artsakh are strongly determined to repel, with their full capacities, and neutralize the intent of that alliance. And that strong resolve of the Armenian sides has no alternative, as it embodies the unshattered will of the Armenian people to live in their historical homeland.
Armenia is absolutely confident that Azerbaijan’s military adventurism will fail, and Azerbaijan will be compelled to renounce its intention to solve the conflict through military means, and to talk to the people of Artsakh not through barrages of artillery, but at the negotiating table.
3:10 p.m.: Artsakh Defense Ministry reported that President of Artsakh Arayik Harutyunyan and Armenia’s Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan visited the army combat management center to get to know the ongoing military actions along the entire Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact.
Artsakh’s Defence MInistry commander Major-General Jalal Harutyunyan presented the operative-military situation and talked about the actions carried out by the units of the Defense Army in order to resist the Azerbaijani aggression.
The Major-General assured that the situation is being managed by the Armed Forces of the Republic of Artsakh and that there were prospects for further successes.
5 p.m. Live Press Conference
During a press conference, Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Armenian Defense Ministry said that military actions continue on the Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact with varying intensity. The northern and southern directions remain the focus of the attack. In the morning, he had mentioned that the Azerbaijani side is using heavy artillery and has launched new attacks, which were being successfully thwarted by the Armenian Armed Forces and resulting in casualties for the attacking Azerbaijanis. The Artsakh Defense Ministry published videos of its defense in the northern direction and said the Azerbaijani side has lost an additional 10 to 11 military vehicles, including tanks. The military actions in this direction are now calmer. Artillery was also used against peaceful settlements in Artsakh, including Martakert and the surrounding areas. Representatives of media organizations also came under shelling. Hovhannisyan noted that more wounded servicemen have been transferred to medical centers in Yerevan. He went on to say that most of the wounded servicemen did not suffer serious injuries and returned to military actions after receiving first aid.
Anna Naghdalyan, the spokesperson of Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the Armenian diplomatic service continues to work in emergency mode. Since yesterday, the Foreign Affairs Minister and the Prime Minister have had more than two dozen phone conversations with their foreign counterparts. Naghdalyan clarified that these phone conversations should not be seen as one time discussions. Instead, they continued conversations with representatives of the international community to present the situation on the ground as well as the threats posed to the region by Azerbaijan’s destabilizing moves. She stressed that the Armenian side has the unconditional support of the international community, which condemns the use of force and Azerbaijan’s moves threatening the peace and stability in the region. Naghdalyan noted that the response of the international community made Azerbaijan resort to its usual tactics, spreading disinformation and claiming that the Armenian side is the aggressor. She went on to say that the Armenian side has hard evidence showing who started the escalation.
Naghdalyan brought up Azerbaijan’s refusal to have proper mechanisms for the investigation of ceasefire violations proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs (which both Armenia and Artsakh have agreed to) and said this stance shows that Azerbaijan’s actions to date were aimed at creating favorable conditions for such violations and eventually start a war.
She explained that Azerbaijan’s offensive against Artsakh has two peculiarities. First, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has publicly declined to participate in the peace talks and resorted to force to resolve the conflict. Second, the Armenian side now also has to deal with Turkey’s political and military support to Azerbaijan. Although Turkey has always been supportive of Azerbaijan, this time around, that support has evolved and translated into a physical military presence in Azerbaijan. Turkish military equipment is being used, and Turkish experts are advising Azerbaijan. Naghdalyan went on to say that the Armenian side has information that Turkey facilitated the transfer of foreign terrorist militants to Azerbaijan. All of these factors allow the Armenian side to say that the people of Artsakh are fighting against an Azerbaijani-Turkish alliance. Turkey, which more than a century ago exterminated ethnic Armenians from their historical homeland, now encourages Azerbaijan to repeat its genocidal policy against Armenians in the South Caucasus.
While answering reporters’ questions, Naghdalyan noted that they are in regular contact with representatives of the international community and are providing them with a comprehensive overview of the situation on the ground. She reaffirmed that the Armenian side has the unconditional support of the international community against the use of force.
6:30 p.m. Armenia’s Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan Submits Special Report to the UN Human Rights Council
“I have just submitted a special report to the UN Human Rights Council on the human rights situation related to Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) that occurred as a result of Azerbaijani military air and artillery aggressive attacks, including targeted attacks against the civilian population. This is a separate procedure available for “A” status National Human Rights Institutions.
“The report was also sent to other international organizations. The report presents targeted attacks towards civilian settlements of Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) with relevant facts and photos. Conclusions are made that the life and health of children, women, elderly and the entire peaceful population, their property, schools and other civilian objects are under real danger.
“We continue cooperation and maintain direct contacts with the Human Rights Defender of Artsakh, as well as civilians of Artsakh.”
8:55 p.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Defense Ministry wrote on his Facebook page that the Azerbaijani military has launched a new large-scale offensive in the Araks Valley and in the north in the Mataghis-Talish section. He said that the Defense Army of Artsakh is successfully resisting the aggression and attack, inflicting significant material and human losses. “At this moment, 22 Azerbaijani tanks and ten armored vehicles have been destroyed. More than 370 [Azerbaijani] soldiers have been killed. They have a large number of wounded,” he wrote.
Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan: “We must be ready for long-term large-scale military operations.”
10 p.m.: This evening, President Arayik Harutyunyan of Artsakh held a press briefing on the military situation. He said that not much has changed on the frontline in regards to posts. Wide scale military operations have been taking place stretching from Omar to Araks and Azerbaijani forces have concentrated their operations mainly in the south, near Araks, Jabrayil, Fizuli and in the northeastern section of Talish-Mataghis, Yeghnikner. Harutyunyan said that this afternoon there was an attack toward Mrav but Azerbaijani forces were not able to register any success on that front. Military operations that were launched around Omar yesterday, have continued today. The President went on to speak about a number of incidents in the south, near the village of Karakhambel. He said that dozens of Azerbaijani tanks were advancing and were hit, and then dozens more advanced and “we hit them again.” He said that he believes that this was because the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan claimed they had taken over a number of Armenian villages in the direction of Fizuli, which is not true. He went on to say that today the Azerbaijani side used at least fifty tanks and other armaments; the military units of Artsakh’s Defense Army successfully destroyed dozens of their military equipment.
Harutyunyan stressed that Azerbaijan has been preparing for this war for quite a long time. He said that he could today reveal that they prepared months in advance in order to damage communication lines. There is an agreement among the expert community, he said, that this could not have possibly been planned within days. When the Azerbaijani side claims that it was Armenia that launched an offensive and they have only responded, it comes to show that “we are dealing with a regime that lies to the entire world and the entire world is aware of that.” Harutyunyan explained that the military equipment destroyed by the Armenian side is usually used during offensive military operations; these include tanks, helicopters, UAVs. He said it was their strategic tactic to attack and disable Artsakh’s anti-aircraft systems in order to be able to attack civilian settlements and infrastructure. Harutyunyan said that this is a war of life and death and that they will win. He went on to say that he is amazed and proud of Armenians living in Artsakh, Armenia and the Diaspora, who stand ready to go to the Line of Contact as volunteers.
Harutyunyan stressed that the Armenian Armed Forces are fighting against combined Azerbaijani-Turkish forces and alliance. The President stressed that the adversary did not take control of any important military positions and that the Armenian side caused significant human and material losses to Azerbaijan.
While responding to reporters’ questions, Harutyunyan said that we have to be ready for long-term large-scale military operations. “We have no other option, the adversary continues using its entire military force.” The President went on to say that security is Artsakh’s first priority. The strategy of the Armed Forces is to cause as much human and material losses to the adversary as 1992-1994.
ECtHR Accepts Armenian Government’s Application to Use Interim Measure Against Azerbaijan
The Armenian Government sent a request to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for an interim measure, in which the Government requested the Court to indicate to the Azerbaijani Government, under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, as follows:
– to cease the military attacks towards the civilian settlements along the entire line of contact of the armed forces of Armenia and Artsakh;
– to stop indiscriminate attacks;
– to stop targeting civilian population, civilian objects and settlements.”
The ECtHR accepted the Armenian Government’s application to use an interim measure against Azerbaijan.
Former Vice President Joe Biden Releases Statement on Hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh
“I am deeply concerned by the outbreak of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh and call for urgent de-escalation, restoring the ceasefire, and a resumption of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The United States should be pushing for more observers along the ceasefire line and calling for Russia to stop cynically providing arms to both sides, while reviewing our own security assistance programs to ensure no military capabilities are being repurposed for offensive means.
“The Trump administration also needs to step up its diplomatic efforts, together with fellow OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs France and Russia, to seek a peaceful resolution and to support confidence-building measures. The eruption of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh runs the risk of escalating into a larger regional conflict, which is why third parties in the region must stay out of this conflict and the Minsk Group mediators must immediately seek de-escalation and a return to negotiations.”
United States President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump was asked about the conflict at a press briefing:
“We’re looking at it very strongly,” the President said. “We have a lot of good relationships in that area. We’ll see if we can stop it.”
11:45 p.m.: According to the Armenian Unified Infocenter, an additional 15 soldiers were killed in battle, bringing the total number of Armenian casualties to 31. Below are the names of those 15 soldiers:
Nersisyan, Sasun, born 2002
Khachatryan, Khoren, born 1983
Grigoryan, Armen, born 1984
Aghasaryan, Yuri, born 2001
Achemyan, Garik, born 2002
Galoyan, Gevorg, born 2001
Abrahamyan, Gurgen, born 2001
Yaravyan, Gor, born 2002
Apozyan, Hovhannes, born 2000
Hovhannisyan, Aren, born 2002
Beglaryan, Haykaz, born 2000
Gabrielyan, Erik, born 1979
Hayrapetyan, Gurgen, born 1988
Movsisyan, Arthur, born 1981
Mikhaelyan, Vazgen, born 1998
10:40 p.m.: According to Shushan Stepanyan of the Defense Ministry, following a counteroffensive, the units of the Defense Army confiscated eleven armaments from the Azerbaijani side, including military vehicles.
9:20 p.m.: According to Shushan Stepanyan of the Defense Ministry, the statement issued by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces took control of the Vardenis-Martakert highway is a fabrication.
Nikol Pashinyan Holds Telephone Conversation With Emmanuel Macron
PM Nikol Pashinyan held a telephone conversation with President of France Emmanuel Macron.
The PM presented the situation after Azerbaijan launched hostilities along the entire length of the Artsakh Line of Contact. Pashinyan expressed deep concern over the current situation and its further escalation. In particular, he stressed that Azerbaijan was resorting to provocations with a view to launching military operations on the state borders of the Republic of Armenia.
Calling Macron’s attention to Turkey’s unabashedly aggressive stance, the Premier stressed the need to prevent the possible intervention of that country.
Deeply concerned over the current situation, President Macron said that further escalation is unacceptable. He considered it important to take all necessary measures to halt the hostilities and defuse the tension. He stressed the need to intensify the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs with a view to reinstating peace in the region.
6 p.m.: Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Armenia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, has been in continuous communication with his foreign colleagues. He held phone calls with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, his Estonian and Cypriot counterparts Urmas Reinsalu and Nikos Christodoulides, respectively. The Minister gave a thorough briefing regarding the latest developments along the Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact.
5 p.m.: Artak Beglaryan, the Government Ombudsman of Artsakh, announced that a pregnant woman was seriously wounded as a result of Azerbaijan’s shelling of civilian settlements in Artsakh. Thanks to the quick response of doctors, both the mother and child are safe now.
Announcement by Hayastan All Armenia Fund
“We Are Our Borders; All for Artsakh
“Dear friends and compatriots,
“Earlier today, a joint decision was made to launch the “We Are Our Borders; All for Artsakh” global fundraising campaign to support our heroic brothers and sisters standing strong in Artsakh.
“Donations can be made through the Fund’s website at www.himnadram.org or transferred to the dedicated Central Bank accounts, details of which can be found on our website.
“We call on all Armenians around the world to support this crucial initiative!”
According to the latest updates, the Fund has raised about $660,000.
The Government Decision on Declaration of Martial Law in the Republic of Armenia
WHEREAS the military offense launched by the Azerbaijani military units against Artsakh in the morning of September 27, 2020, with the use of artillery, aircraft, including unmanned aerial vehicles (hereinafter referred to as UAVs), armored vehicles, manpower and other units, as a result of which settlements deep inside Artsakh, including the capital Stepanakert and its peaceful civilian population were targeted;
WHEREAS the Republic of Armenia is the guarantor of the security of the people of Artsakh;
WHEREAS as a result of the actions taken by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, there is an imminent danger of an armed attack against the Republic of Armenia and invasion into the territory of the Republic of Armenia that threatens the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia, and conditioned by that the lives and security of the citizens and population of the country, and the elimination of these circumstances is impossible without taking emergency measures;
IN ORDER TO prevent the imminent danger of an armed attack against the Republic of Armenia by creating the most favorable conditions for the mobilization of the Armed Forces and economy of the Republic of Armenia, as well as to ensure the normal functioning of state and local self-government [municipal] bodies, individuals and legal entities and for the purpose of ensuring the protection of human lives and security in the conditions of martial law,
GUIDED BY Article 119, Part 1 and Article 76 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, as well as by Article 3 and 4, Part 1 of Article 5 and Articles 6, 8, 9 and 11 of the Law on the Legal Regime of Martial Law,”
THEREFORE, THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC ARMENIA DECIDES TO
1. Declare martial law throughout the whole territory of the Republic of Armenia from the moment this decision enters into force.
2. Define the measures and the temporary restrictions on rights and freedoms to be employed in the time of martial law, the measures and bodies that would ensure the legal regime of martial law, as available in the appendix.
3. Define that the measures employed within the framework of martial law and temporary restrictions on rights and freedoms apply throughout the whole territory of the Republic of Armenia. To ensure the implementation of the measures employed within the framework of martial law and temporary restrictions on rights and freedoms, the forces and means of the state authorized bodies of defense, emergency situations, police and national security that ensure the legal regime of martial law, as well as the staff representatives of other state administration bodies, territorial administration and local self-government bodies can be involved.
4. This decision enters into force immediately upon publication.