On Sunday, September 27, 2020, Armenians woke up to news that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces had launched an offensive along the full length of the Line of Contact with Artsakh, including helicopter and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drone assaults as tank units advanced. The operation had begun shortly after 7:00 a.m. local time, according to Major-General Jalal Harutyunyan, Commander of the Artsakh Defense Army.
The attack was reminiscent of the one that kickstarted the Four Day April War in 2016. This time, however, civilian centers, including in the capital of Stepanakert, were targeted and the population was rushed to shelters for safety. Several Azerbaijani helicopters and combat drones were shot down by the Armenian side.
In contrast to the fighting that took place in July 2020 between Armenia’s Tavush region and Azerbaijan’s Tovuz region, it appears this attack was mainly confined to the Line of Contact with Artsakh and not across the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border, although there were reports of Azerbaijani drones being shot down over Armenia’s eastern city of Vardenis, in the Gegharkunik region. Azerbaijanis referred to the operation as a “counterattack,” however, it’s wide scope, recent training activity with Turkey and an order this week for civilian-owned pickup trucks to be commandeered by the state for military operations made it immediately evident that it had been a premeditated first strike by Azerbaijan.
Within hours, Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan declared martial law at an emergency session of Parliament, announcing a general mobilization of all males over 18. Armenia followed shortly after, with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announcing martial law and a partial mobilization.
Below is a chronology of official updates, starting from 8:30 a.m. on September 27.
8:30 a.m.: Major-General Jalal Harutyunyan, the Defense Minister of the Republic of Artsakh
Four years after the military operations of 2016, the adversary has once again resorted to military power, thinking that it will be able to resolve the issue of Artsakh through that avenue. On the morning of September 27, the Azerbaijani Army launched an aerial and missile attack along the entire length of the Line of Contact utilizing combat drones. At this moment, the units of the Defense Army are successfully thwarting their plans and causing great losses to the enemy. Their plans have been clear to us for a long time, the essence of which can be expressed in the following way: to depopulate Artsakh and Armenia of Armenians.
We are convinced that the adversary will fail yet again. Victory will not be easy. The adversary, true to its nature, will target peaceful settlements and civilians, will not differentiate between a soldier and a child, between a priest and an elderly woman, between an adult man and a helpless old man: all Armenians will be targeted. Victory will require a surge of strength and ironclad unity. All our internal disagreements, differing views and opinions, must now be set aside. Our common goal is to defeat the enemy by all possible means, to strike a crushing blow to his armed gangs, to destroy his military infrastructure and, if necessary, to expand the security zone to guarantee lasting peace.
We must all work together to accomplish this task.
Our victory has no alternative. We protect the graves of our ancestors and the future of our children. We defend the right of our ancestors to live on this land.
The Armenian people are with us.
Justice is with us.
God is with us.
Victory will be ours!
8:35 a.m.: Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan
“Dear compatriots, proud citizens of the Republic of Armenia, proud citizens of the Republic of Artsakh, proud Armenians of the Diaspora:
The enemy has launched an attack in the direction of Artsakh. The Defense Army is successfully resisting the attack. The operative situation is developing, information will be summarized and provided as needed.
I urge you to trust only official sources and be vigilant against falling prey to hostile disinformation operations.
We should stand firmly behind our state and our army, in defense of our holy homeland. And we will win.
Long live the glorious Armenian Army! Long live Armenian statehood! Long live the Armenian people!”
8:40 a.m.: Azerbaijan army has launched a missile and aerial attack against Artsakh. According to Vahram Poghosyan, the press secretary of the President of Artsakh, Azerbaijan launched an offensive along the entire length of the Line of Contact: “Peaceful settlements, including the capital Stepanakert, are also being shelled. We call on the population to take refuge.” Poghosyan went on to say that the response will be proportionate and that the entire responsibility for the situation lies with the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan.
8:45 a.m.: According to Shushan Stepanyan, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense, the Armenian side has shot down two Azerbaijani military helicopters and three combat drones. Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan has already had a telephone conversation with the Representative for the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, informing him of the situation on the ground.
8:50 a.m.: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Early this morning, the Azerbaijani side launched missile attacks along the entire Line of Contact, targeting also peaceful settlements, including the capital Stepanakert.
We strongly condemn the aggression of the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan against the Republic of Artsakh. The Armenian side will act confidently to ensure the security of the people of Artsakh and to deliver an appropriate military and political response. The military-political leadership of Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the consequences of their aggression.
9:10 a.m.: Spokesperson for Armenia’s Minister of Defense, Shushan Stepanyan, wrote on her Facebook page that Major General Jalal Harutyunyan, Commander of the Defense Army, has said that Azerbaijani forces launched an attack along the entire Line of Contact starting at 7:10 a.m. According to Harutyunyan, Azerbaijani forces have been pushed back along several directions, suffering human and equipment losses, in particular three tanks. The battles are continuing, he noted.
9:20 a.m.: Ministry of Defense Spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan writes urging the civilian population to hide in shelters as “the opponent continues to fire at civilian settlements, including the capital Stepanakert.” She once again reiterated that the response of the Armenian side “will be proportional, and the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan is responsible for the situation.”
10 a.m.: According to Shushan Stepanyan, MoD Spokesperson, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry officially announced the launching of a “counterattack,” which Stepanyan says is evidence that this attack was premeditated. Stepanyan went on to say that any person with basic military knowledge would know that it takes weeks to plan a counterattack operation. Stepanyan also said that, minutes after the official announcement of the escalation, Azerbaijani and Turkish media started publishing reports from the Line of Contact, which is also proof that Azerbaijan’s provocation was planned in advance.
10:10 a.m.: MoD spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan reports that Armenian Armed Forces have shot down an Azerbaijani combat drone in the northeastern direction of the Line of Contact.
10:20 a.m.: Arayik Harutyunyan, the President of Artsakh has met with the first volunteers. President Harutyunyan said in a Facebook post that the Armed Forces stand firm on their positions and that the response will be proportionate. Harutyunyan said the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan carries the responsibility for the situation and will answer for each and every loss. “This is a fight for life or death, the [challenge] has been accepted by the whole nation and victory will be ours,” wrote Harutyunyan and called on the population to stand ready and to keep calm.
10:30 a.m.: According to Artak Beglaryan, the Government Ombudsman of the Republic of Artsakh, there are Armenian civilian casualties as a result of Azerbaijan’s offensive.
10:55 a.m.: According to the MoD spokesperson, as a result of Azerbaijani shelling, there are civilian casualties and wounded. In the Martuni region, there are two deaths – one woman and a child – and two wounded. Details in other regions are being clarified. Schools have been targeted, including in Stepanakert. Civilian buildings in a number of settlements have sustained serious damage.
11 a.m.: According to Armenia’s Ministry of Defense (MoD), many individuals and groups across Armenia (up to 10,000 people) have gathered at military commissariats [local military administrative agency] wishing to volunteer and be sent to the Line of Contact. In an official communication, the MoD said the armed forces highly appreciate the readiness of our compatriots and informs that at this moment there is no need for volunteering, and if the need arises, the Ministry of Defense will issue a separate statement.
11 a.m.: According to the Artsakh Defense Army, the adversary is launching attacks on various parts of the Line of Contact by using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), i.e. drones, military aircraft, armored vehicles and artillery. The Defense Army is successfully thwarting all the attacks. According to verified information, Azerbaijani armed forces have lost two helicopters, 14 UAVs, as well as armored vehicles.
11:10 a.m.: Arayik Harutyunyan, the President of Artsakh, called an emergency session of Parliament, during which he declared martial law in the Republic of Artsakh and a general mobilization of all males above 18 years of age.
“We have repeatedly stated that we are not in favor of war, but we are ready for war… We did not want war, this war was imposed on us and we have the duty to defend our homeland and families,” said Harutyunyan, addressing the parliament.
Harutyunyan added that the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan carries the responsibility for the situation and that the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev will be personally held responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe in the region.
12 p.m.: Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan wrote on his Facebook Page that there will be a session of the Security Council, and the government will discuss the issue of announcing martial law and a partial mobilization. He wrote: “Be ready for the defense of our holy homeland.”
12:35 p.m.: PM Nikol Pashinyan announced that, by decision of the Government, martial law and a general mobilization will be declared in Armenia. The decision will enter into force once it is published.
“I call on the auxiliary forces to report to their regional military commissariats,” he wrote. “In the name of our homeland, in the name of victory.”
12:40 p.m.: Arman Tatoyan, Human Rights Defender of Armenia
Severe casualties and damage have already been inflicted upon the peaceful population of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) as a result of the large-scale military offensive launched by Azerbaijan since early morning today. Martakert, Martuni, Stepanakert and other cities, many villages are under high-caliber artillery shelling.
A child and a woman were killed and two civilians were wounded in the Martuni region of Nagorno-Karabakh, as reported by the Nagorno-Karabakh Human Rights Defender (Government Ombudsman). More cases of severe casualties have been evidenced.
All official and media reports, peaceful population’s alarming complaints prove that the shelling is targeted.
Schools, houses and other civilian targets are under indiscriminate attack with very real threat to life and health of women, children and the entire population of Nagorno-Karabakh.
These gross violations of human rights are in absolute violation of the Geneva Conventions and customary International Humanitarian Law.
These military attacks are even more condemnable during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. The Secretary-General of the United Nations called for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world due to the threat of coronavirus.
The Human Rights Defender of Armenia maintains direct contact with the Human Rights Defender of Artsakh and the peaceful Armenian population.
12:45 p.m.: Davit Tonoyan, the Defense Minister of Armenia
Early this morning, in gross violation of international humanitarian law and the peace process, the Azerbaijani armed forces launched an attack on the Artsakh-Azerbaijani Line of Contact, using missile artillery and aircraft, targeting the positions of the Defense Army and peaceful settlements in Artsakh. The military-political leadership of Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the resurgence of hostilities and the impact it will have.
At the moment, the Defense Army of the Artsakh Republic is thwarting all enemy advances with decisive counterattacks, causing heavy losses to the enemy.
As the guarantor of Artsakh’s security, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia are ready to provide any assistance to ensure the security of the people of Artsakh.
It is already obvious that the Azerbaijani authorities have once again overestimated their capabilities by not learning from their previous defeats, for which, I am sure, they will pay the consequences.
This adventure will have far-reaching impacts for the enemy. Our response will be tougher than ever. The Armenian Army has all the necessary means to once again defeat the enemy, who is encroaching on our homeland.
All our victories throughout history were achieved due to unity. I am confident that, at this crucial moment, we will carry out our combat mission together with honor and teach a lesson to the enemy who only understands the language of force.
12:50 p.m.: The National Security Service (NSS) of Armenia has issued a statement saying that Azerbaijanis are sending text messages from unknown cell numbers in Armenia about casualties among Armenian soldiers and the civilian population, including information about military equipment and territorial losses. This activity is part of their disinformation efforts to spread panic. The NSS is calling on citizens to only follow official sources.
1 p.m.: Live Press Conference
Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that large-scale military operations were launched by Azerbaijan early this morning along the entire Line of Contact. He said that they have already released several videos of these battles. The battles are still ongoing at a high intensity. The Azerbaijani forces have been pushed back on several fronts and sustained considerable losses. There have been aerial attacks on different units and military infrastructure of the Artsakh Defense Army, causing damage.
There is already a decision to announce martial law and a general mobilization. The Security Council will also take further decisions at its session today.
Anna Naghdalyan, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Azerbaijani forces are targeting civilian populations and infrastructures, including the capital Stepanakert. She reminded that two civilian casualties in the Martuni regions and several wounded have been reported by the Ombudsman of Artsakh. The Foreign Ministry has already issued a statement condemning the Azerbaijani aggression. Naghdalyan noted that Armenia as well as Artsakh will act confidently to ensure the security of the people of Artsakh and give an appropriate political and military response to the Azerbaijani aggression. The Minister has been in regular contact with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and had conversations with his Russian, Georgian and Lithuenian counterparts.
OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs
The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stephane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States of America) made the following statement:
The Co-Chairs view with concern reports of large scale military actions along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. We strongly condemn the use of force and regret the senseless loss of life, including civilians. The Co-Chairs appeal to the sides to cease hostilities immediately and to resume negotiations to find a sustainable resolution of the conflict.
The Co-Chairs call on the sides to take all necessary measures to stabilize the situation on the ground and reiterate that there is no alternative to a peaceful negotiated solution of the conflict.
1:20 p.m.: The Secretary of Artsakh’s Security Council has announced that 10 Armenian soldiers have been killed. The battles along the Line of Contact are continuing.
1:30 p.m.: Anna Naghdalyan, the Armenian MFA spokesperson announced that all diplomatic representations of the Republic of Armenia are responding to the emergency. According to her statement, Armenia’s international partners, both at the multilateral and bilateral levels, are well aware of the situation caused by Azerbaijan’s military aggression, and the actions and assessments that Armenia is making. Naghdalyan noted that Foreign Affairs Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan is in communication with his counterparts and has had phone conversations with Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov and Georgia’s David Zalkaliani.
2:50 p.m.: According to the Armenian Unified Infocenter, Defense Army units are carrying out defensive operations in the northern, southern and southeastern directions, impeding the Azerbaijani advance. The Azerbaijani side has suffered significant human and equipment losses. The Defense Army has destroyed four Azerbaijani helicopters, about 15 UAV drones, 10 tanks and an infantry armored vehicle. The losses of the Defense Army are being clarified.
2:50 p.m.: The Office of the Human Rights Defender (Government Ombudsman) of the Republic of Artsakh launched a fact-finding mission following a wholesale attack by the Azerbaijani armed forces on 27 September.
According to the updated information, all large and a number of small settlements (including Stepanakert, Askeran, Martakert, Martuni, Hadrut and Shushi) were shelled with the use of artillery and combat drones.
Initially, two casualties and tens of wounded were confirmed. In Stepanakert alone, more than 10 people were injured, including children and women. The Human Rights Defender’s representatives visited a group of recovering wounded in the Stepanakert Republican Medical Center.
Among damage to infrastructure, some schools were also damaged. Analysis of the collected data shows that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces are targeting the civilian population, which is a gross violation of international humanitarian law. The Ombudsman calls on the international community to assess the actions of Azerbaijan, especially in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic, to take measures to neutralize threats to the life and safety of thousands of people of the Republic of Artsakh.
The Office of the Human Rights Defender continues its fact-finding mission, and after clarifying the data, will make additional publications.
2:55 p.m.: According to the Artsakh Defense Ministry, the statement issued by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry about the occupation of six settlements is false. It is a provocation of Azerbaijani propaganda.
3:40 p.m.: Armenia’s Security Council Holds a Special Session
PM Nikol Pashinyan chaired a special meeting of the Security Council, which apart from Security Council members was attended by President Armen Sarkissian, Speaker of the National Assembly Ararat Mirzoyan, Chief of the PM’s Office Eduard Aghajanyan and Minister of Emergency Situations Felix Tsolakyan.
The Security Council discussed ways to counter the large-scale military operations unleashed by the adversary on the border between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. The meeting stated the need for the Armenian Armed Forces to adequately retaliate against Azerbaijan’s offensive and discussed further action.
3:50 p.m.: Arman Tatoyan, Human Rights Defender of Armenia
Severe casualties and damage have been caused to the peaceful population of Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) as a result of the large-scale aggressive air and artillery attacks launched by Azerbaijan along the entire line of the border since early morning today. Women, children and elderly, schools and other civilian objects are under targeted attacks. All reports and evidence clearly show that these attacks are indiscriminate and are directed against the civilian population. One child and one woman were killed and dozens of civilians were wounded. We maintain direct contacts with the Human Rights Defender of Artsakh.
This is to specifically highlight that the Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) of Armenia carries out its activities in the capacity of a Human Rights Independent Institution vested with human rights mandate and is guided by internationally recognized principles of human rights protection in (post)-conflict situations.
I have already applied to International Human Rights Organizations and some of them have been already in direct contact since early morning today.
4 p.m.: PM Nikol Pashinyan’s wife Anna Hakobyan is in Artsakh. Together with Artsakh’s First Lady Kristine Harutyunyan, she visited those who were wounded during today’s attacks and are being treated at Artsakh’s Armenia Republican Medical Center.
4:10 p.m.: PM Nikol Pashinyan spoke to the nation in a live address. Below is an unofficial translation of that speech:
“Dear compatriots, proud citizens of the Republic of Armenia, proud citizens of the Republic of Artsakh, proud Armenians of the Diaspora, sisters and brothers:
Early this morning, the Republic of Artsakh was subjected to Azerbaijani aggression. Peaceful civilian populations and infrastructure in Artsakh, including the capital Stepanakert, are being bombarded. Casualties and wounded have been reported, including among the civilian population. By using heavy artillery, the adversary is attacking the military positions of Artsakh’s Defense Army from all sides. The Defense Army is battling hard and successfully defending Artsakh with honor.
Dear compatriots, Ilham Aliyev’s autocratic regime has started a war. It is a war declared against the Armenian people. It is a war against our independence, freedom and dignity. The Armenian nation stands ready for that war because we have always realized that the anti-Armenian hatred and hostility that the Azerbaijani dictatorship has fed its people for the last several decades would one day lead to this. The Azerbaijani dictatorship has fallen hostage to its own anti-Armenian policy and today is cornered by its own propaganda falsely claiming that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be resolved through military means. The Armenian nation is ready to respond appropriately. The Republic of Armenia is the guarantor of the security and independence of the Republic of Artsakh. The Republic of Armenia stands firmly behind Artsakh, its population and its government institutions. We will not spare any effort to keep the borders of our homeland impregnable and to protect our freedom and independence.
As a signatory of the 1994 ceasefire agreement, the Republic of Armenia will initiate necessary actions through political, diplomatic and military platforms to secure the physical security of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and impose peace. The adversary has already suffered significant human and equipment losses. Azerbaijan needs to understand that the combat effectiveness of our army is higher than ever. They need to understand that the Armenian nation stands firmly behind Artsakh. We are united, as always. We are united, as we have been at all decisive moments throughout our history when the enemy threatens our existence, our identity and our values. The despotic leadership of Azerbaijan has to understand that it is impossible to bring the Armenian nation to its knees. Throughout the millennia, we have had numerous defining moments and overcome many difficulties. Our cause is just and we will provide an appropriate response to this latest aggression.
We understand very well that the Azerbaijani dictatorship can launch military actions towards Armenia’s borders and resort to provocations to destabilize the situation in the region. This is the reason that, by decision of the Government, martial law and a general mobilization have been declared in Armenia.
I draw the attention of the OSCE Minsk Group member states as well as the international community to the seriousness of the situation. The outbreak of large-scale war in the South Caucasus can have unpredictable consequences. It can spill over regional borders, magnify in scale and threaten international security and stability. I urge the international community to use its influence to prevent Turkey’s possible intervention, which will completely destabilize the situation in the region. Turkey’s aggressive behavior, which was particularly dangerous during the July escalations and continues today raises serious concerns. If Turkey maintains its dangerous stance, it can have devastating consequences for the South Caucasus and the wider region. The joint efforts of the international community are needed to prevent these dangerous destabilizing developments.
Dear compatriots, today we are faced with a serious threat. The situation becomes even more complicated with the pandemic. The seriousness of the moment requires everyone’s vigilance. Our victory depends on our individual and collective efforts and behavior. I urge everyone to show discipline and civil consciousness. And we will win. Long live freedom, long live the Republic of Armenia, long live the Republic of Artsakh. We and our progeny will live in a free and happy Armenia, a free and happy Artsakh.
Glory to the Armenian Army.
Eternal glory to the Armenian soldier.
5:30 p.m. PM Nikol Pashinyan Addresses the National Assembly
Honorable Speaker of the National Assembly, distinguished Members of Parliament,
It is common knowledge that, around 7:10 a.m. this morning, the armed forces of Azerbaijan undertook a large-scale offensive in the direction of Artsakh Defense Army positions, preceded by artillery fire and shelling, after which heavy machinery advanced against the Defense Army’s positions along the entire length of the Line of Contact. Essentially, this is an attempt by Azerbaijan to resolve the Karabakh issue through force and to occupy Nagorno-Karabakh. This is an act of obvious aggression. Considering the fact that the military-political situation that came about may involve the immediate threat of encroachment over the border with Armenia, the Government of Armenia has declared martial law and a general mobilization. At this point in time, a partial mobilization is underway as we speak but our response will evolve as the situation unfolds. Also, at this point in time, the Artsakh Defense Army is engaged in combat along the entire length of the Line of Contact, in particular the northern, north-eastern and south-eastern directions. The situation is very tense. I understand that everyone is interested in more detailed information. Unfortunately, we do have casualties. Moreover, since they have also targeted civilian infrastructure, we also have civilian casualties along with military servicemen. They have also struck the capital of Artsakh, Stepanakert, and other settlements. The Defense Army is implementing the objectives that it has been assigned, to hold back the Azerbaijani advance. At this point in time, the situation is fluid. It is unfolding as we speak. Our military assesses the situation as follows: the situation is tense but it is still early to assess the situation fully. I believe that we have to acknowledge that what happened was essentially not unexpected. Here is the context and background:
I would like us to clearly acknowledge that, throughout this period, the position of Azerbaijan has essentially been as follows: either we concede the rights of the people of Artsakh, the rights of the Armenian population of Artsakh, their right to self-determination, or alternatively face a war. And this is the context in which the conflict is currently unfolding. The Republic of Armenia and the people of Armenia, I believe, have to stand fast in their position, standing by the rights of the people of Artsakh and the protection of rights of the Armenian people in general. This is not an exaggeration. The millennia-long fight for survival is the upteenth and the most important milestone in this struggle. We have to answer the simple question: do we have the potential to protect the right and existence of this nation? Or do we lack such potential? Do we have the determination, the willpower? We choose, notwithstanding the power balance, to protect and defend the right of Armenian nation to exist in its historical homeland. For many centuries and millennia, the powers that be, you are well aware, for hundreds of years, have come and gone but we are still here.
Dear MPs, compatriots, this is the decisive moment and we have to be strong and stand strong at the back of Artsakh and our soldiers, and stand by our armed forces. We have to prove today that our right to live is something we have enough willpower and determination to protect. Will and determination, in this sense, are of paramount importance.
The entire Armenian nation has to consolidate in defending Artsakh. The entire Armenian nation has to consolidate around our identity, history, our motherland, our future and our present. And we shall overcome. We are bound to overcome a triumph and there is one and only precondition for that: we have to pledge and commit ourselves not to yield a single millimeter of our Artsakh, our history, our nation, our identity and our future, our value. Long live the Republic of Artsakh. Long live the Republic of Armenia, long live the Armenian diaspora and long live the glorious Armenian Army that shall defend the right of Armenia nation to live, to triumph and to develop.
And we are united. We must persevere. There are no private soldiers, generals, MPs. We are all soldiers to this nation today.
Even local, maybe not even local failures shall not disillusion or depress us. We should stand steadfast on our foothold and defend this sacred hallowed land and our right to live on it. I am not here today to state as supreme military commander what it is that our armed forces are ready for. Our generals, I am here today to tell you what I am ready for. I am ready to sacrifice myself and perish in the name of our motherland. The Armenian nation has never been put to its knees and never will be. The Armenian nation with its strong back and clear mind will stick to this land. When we say that we are all soldiers, when we applaud this statement, there is one message to be heard that we all have to convey to the world. Whether a young person or a senior citizen, female and male, official or an employee, there is only one message that we all have to convey to each other and to the rest of the world. We have to look at each other’s eyes and say “We are ready and willing to put our lives on the line in the name of our motherland. We shall not yield a single millimeter of our motherland. We shall not sacrifice our right. We have to win because there is no alternative. The Armenian nation has to exist forever. Artsakh shall live and Artsakh shall enjoy self-determination and be independent, powerful and proud as it has been and is today. And today, our assembly is for unity, determination and victory. Get ready for victory, devotion, sacrifice because this is a decisive moment. And we are united as never before.
Long live freedom, long live the Republic of Armenia, long live the Republic of Artsakh. We and our progeny will live in a free and happy Armenia, a free and happy Artsakh.
Glory to the Armenian Army and its soldiers. Thank you.
5:30 p.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defense Ministry reported that the Azerbaijani Army is using large-caliber rocket launchers: Smerch, Kasirga, Polonez, etc.
6:15 p.m.: According to Artur Sargsyan, the Deputy Defense Minister of Artsakh, the Azerbaijani side suffered significant human and equipment losses, including 30 tanks and vehicles, 20 UAV drones and three helicopters. It is estimated that Artsakh’s Defense Army has 16 casualties and more than 100 wounded.
An earlier update at 3 p.m. by Armenian Defense Ministry spokesperson had quoted four downed helicopters.
7:45 p.m.: Armenian Unified Infocenter reported that Azerbaijani hackers launched cyber attacks on a number of Armenian state and media websites including 1in.am, News.am, Blognews.am, Mamul.am, Hetq.am, Armenpress, Artsakhpress, Mediamax and Armtimes.
9 p.m. Live Press Conference
Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defense Ministry presented updates on the situation at the Line of Contact. Military actions continue taking place in the northern and southern parts of Artsakh. It has been verified that the Azerbaijani side suffered significant losses, including 200 casualties, 30 armored vehicles, over 20 UAVs and other equipment. Speaking about the losses of the Armenia side, Hovhannisyan said that 16 deaths were confirmed and that the Defense Ministry will provide additional information once everything is verified. Of the 100 wounded, 10 were transferred to Yerevan, while the rest suffered minor injuries.
While answering questions, Hovhannisyan assured that the Armenian side is in regular contact with international organizations, including the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. He also noted that the Armenian side published videos, which clearly show Azerbaijani military equipment being destroyed.
Josep Borrell, the High Representative/Vice-President of the EU
On 27 September 2020, fighting erupted along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone, regrettably causing military and civilian casualties.
The European Union calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, de-escalation and for strict observance of the ceasefire.
The return to negotiations of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, without preconditions, is needed urgently.
James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia
NATO is deeply concerned by reports of large scale military hostilities along the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. The sides should immediately cease hostilities, which have already caused civilian casualties. There is no military solution to this conflict. The parties should resume negotiations towards a peaceful resolution. NATO supports the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group.
Nikol Pashinyan Held a Phone Conversation With Vladimir Putin
PM Nikol Pashinyan held a phone conversation with Vladimir Putin, President of Russia. The PM spoke about the situation on the Line of Contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan. He expressed his concerns regarding the hostilities unleashed by the Azerbaijani side. Pashinyan noted that the further escalation of the situation and the involvement of other regional forces are unacceptable.
Vladimir Putin also expressed concerns over the large-scale hostilities and stressed that efforts need to be taken to prevent further escalation of the conflict and to stop military actions.