Battles of varying intensity are continuing in Artsakh along the Karabakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact and today, in Armenia proper as well. Turkish F-16 fighters were deployed from Azerbaijan’s Ganja Airport to provide aerial support and in the process shot down a SU-25 fighter jet of the Armenian Armed Forces killing the pilot.
Below is a chronology of official updates, starting from 8:50 a.m. on September 29.
8:50 a.m.: According to the Armenian Unified Infocenter: Fighting with varying intensity is continuing, including Azerbaijani artillery fire.
At the moment, Armenian units have resisted attacks in several directions along the Line of Contact, taking punitive actions in some parts, causing significant losses in manpower and equipment to the opponent.
In particular, early in the morning, a number of Azerbaijani armored vehicles were destroyed in the southern direction.
Meanwhile, Armenian Defense Ministry representative Artsrun Hovhannisyan wrote: “The enemy has started intense artillery preparation and is getting ready to launch the next attack.”
9:40 a.m.: Statement by Anna Naghdalyan, Armenian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson:
“We completely deny the accusation of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry that Armenia is firing rockets from Armenia’s Vardenis region to the Dashkasan region of Azerbaijan.
This is complete misinformation; it aims to pave the way for Azerbaijan to expand the geography of hostilities, including aggression against Armenia.
We strongly condemn Azerbaijan’s attempts to further destabilize regional peace and security, the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan bears the full responsibility of the consequences of such acts.”
10 a.m: Arman Tatoyan, Human Rights Defender of Armenia tweeted that, as a result of Azerbaijani shelling in civilian settlements in Artsakh, four civilians have died including a child and a woman; there are dozens wounded – children, women, elderly – some of whom sustained severe injuries.
10:50 a.m.: According to Shushan Stepanyan, MoD spokesperson, Azerbaijani Military Forces opened fire in the direction of one of the military units of the Armenian Armed Forces in Vardenis, utilizing air forces in the direction of military posts.
Stepanyan said that the operation came on the heels of the misinformation disseminated by Azerbaijan’s MoD that Armenia’s military forces were firing rockets into Azerbaijan’s Dashkasan region. “Hence the adversary in fact laid the groundwork to justify its future operations,” she wrote.
10:55 a.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan wrote that a civilian bus is on fire following a drone attack.
11 a.m.: Live Press Conference by Artsrun Hovhannisyan and Arman Tatoyan
During a press conference, Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that fighting continued along the entire length of the Line of Contact. The adversary tried to launch a new attack in the northern and southern directions but was pushed back after suffering significant human and equipment losses (over 60 servicemen killed). Yesterday, the territory of the Republic of Armenia also came under attack by Azerbaijan. Today, Azerbaijani drones and air units launched an attack in the direction of the city of Vardenis, in Armenia’s Gegharkunik region. A bus was set on fire following a drone attack against civilian settlements. Armenian military posts also came under attack, but the Armenian side did not suffer any losses. The situation is changing quickly, the Defense Ministry will provide more information about the fighting at night.
Arman Tatoyan, Armenia’s Human Rights Defender, noted that it was evident that civilian settlements in Artsakh have been and continue to be intentionally attacked by Azerbaijan. The gathered evidence shows that they do not differentiate between civilian settlements and military installations, which puts the health and the security of non-combatants at risk. According to the latest updates, four civilians were killed and more were wounded, including women, children and elderly. Tatoyan went on to say that infrastructure of vital importance was also being targeted, including communication lines and roads/highways. Tatoyan went on to say that, since the first day, the Azerbaijani offensive has been accompanied by intensive hate speech. Although Armenophobia and hatred against ethnic Armenians is not something new, this time it is more coordinated, targeted and spread through various social media platforms. The Azerbaijani as well as Turkish propaganda is aimed at spreading fear and alarm among the civilian populations. Tatoyan stressed that the expert community believes that TikTok is the most dangerous platform because it is very difficult to oversee the shared content. Tatoyan called on children and their parents to refrain from using TikTok and ignore all suspicious messages and groups on all social media platforms. The evidence gathered by the Armenian side also shows that Azerbaijan utilizes fake accounts and pages to disseminate disinformation, which also comes to show that Azerbaijan’s actions are well coordinated. Azerbaijan’s actions unleashed since September 27, should be perceived in the same context as the actions of the April War and offensive in Tavush in July. We strongly condemn the attacks on civilian settlements and are in contact with the Human Rights Defender of Artsakh. The Ombudsman’s Office is working around the clock and receives complaints from civilians through its hotline.
Speaking about its work with international organizations, Tatoyan stressed that, since day one, the Human Rights Defender’s Office sent targeted statements to a list of such organizations and that he is in contact with the representatives of international bodies. His office also used its status as the most trusted institution (with an A status) and sent reports to the UN Human Rights Council. Another one will be sent today regarding the spread of hate speech. Tatoyan stressed the need to send accurate information to the international community (considering the fact that Azerbaijan is also sending similar reports and trying to portray Armenia as the aggressor).
While answering the reporter’s questions, Hovhannisyan said that Vardenis had been targeted since the first day (Sunday, September 27) of Azerbaijan’s missile and aerial attack against Artsakh. It is also not new that the territory of Armenia was also targeted. Although nothing can be excluded, Hovhannisyan said that the Nakhichevan side is relatively calm and the Armenian Armed Forces are vigilant. Hovhannisyan dismissed the recent claims spread by the Azerbaijani side, according to which a military unit in Martuni has been completely destroyed and that a high ranking official was killed. Hovhannisyan explained that the Azerbaijani side is well aware that they have suffered significant losses and are losing the war, but continue to spread disinformation. He noted that the Armenian side also suffered both human and equipment losses but that they are not comparable with what Azerbaijan has lost.
Tatoyan noted that he is in regular contact with the Foreign Ministry, Armenia’s ambassadors to the OSCE, Council of Europe and the UN Office in Geneva, and provides regular updates about the situation on the ground. He went on to say that, based on the observations of the Ombudsman’s office, the Armed Forces of Armenia and Artsakh are defending the existential rights of Armenians living in Artsakh. “As a person who has the mandate of the Human Rights Defender in a conflict area, I want to say that the lives of the peaceful civilians in Artsakh are in danger.” Speaking about the request by the Armenian Government sent to the European Court of Human Rights, Tatoyan explained that, at this point, the Human Rights Defender’s Office cannot intervene but depending on future developments, they can request a third country to intervene.
11:35 a.m : According to Shushan Stepanyan, the Defense Ministry’s spokesperson, on the morning of September 29, the Azerbaijani side resumed large-scale offensive operations along nearly the entire length of the Artsakh Line of Contact. In particular, TOS-1A missiles are being used in separate directions.
The use of TOS, Smerch and other large-caliber systems changes the rationale and scale of military actions, taking it to a new level.
The Defense Ministry of Armenia warns that Armenian Armed Forces are forced to use different types of effective weaponry and military equipment designed for wide area targets.
At this moment, the Defense Army units are confidently repelling all attacks by the adversary, causing heavy losses of equipment and manpower.
11:35 a.m.: Artsakh Human Rights Defender released the names of four killed civilians.
During the fact-finding mission launched by the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Artsakh on the attacks of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces against the civilian population of the Republic of Artsakh, the names of four civilians have been revealed, who were killed in the civilian settlements as a result of Azerbaijani shelling and UAV strikes.
1. Victoria Gevorgyan, born in 2011 in the town of Martuni, was shot dead in the yard of her house. Gevorgyan’s mother and brother were also wounded.
2. Ellada Balayan, born in the town of Martuni in 1961, was shot dead in the yard of her house.
3. Lesmonia Stepanyan, born in 1941 in the town of Hadrut, was killed by a UAV strike against her house. In 1992, Stepanyan had lost her arm as a result of a mine explosion in the yard of her house, and then her son died in the war.
4. Eric Grigoryan, born in Stepanakert in 1996, was shot dead near the village of Mets Shen in the Martakert region.
The Defender continues his fact-finding mission, during which more than 30 civilians were injured, four died, and large-scale property and infrastructure damage resulted.
12:35 p.m.: According to Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defense Ministry, the villages surrounding the city of Vardenis are currently being shelled. Earlier, Shushan Stepanyan, MoD spokesperson, said that Azerbaijani military forces opened fire in the direction of one of the military units of the Armenian Armed Forces in Vardenis, utilizing air units in the direction of military posts. The civilian population also came under attack and one civilian was killed as a result.
12:52 p.m.: Statement by the Armenian Foreign Ministry on Azerbaijani Aggression
This morning, the Foreign Ministry of Armenia issued a statement revealing Azerbaijani disinformation, which was aimed at preparing grounds for military operations in the direction of the Vardenis region of the Republic of Armenia.
Shortly after this disinformation, the Azerbaijani armed forces attacked both civilian and military infrastructure in the Vardenis region, as a result of which one civilian was killed.
In contempt of the continuing calls of the international community to end hostilities, Azerbaijan, with the active encouragement, political and military support of Turkey, is expanding the geography of hostilities to the territory of the Republic of Armenia.
The Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh will give a proportionate military-political response to Azerbaijan’s consistent attempts to undermine regional peace and security.
12:55 p.m.: Statement by the Defense Ministry of Artsakh
Military operations continue along the entire length of the Artsakh Line of Contact. The Azerbaijani side is attempting attacks using artillery, UAVs and armored forces.
The units of the Defense Army have been able to successfully halt the adversary’s attacks, causing significant human and equipment losses. According to information at hand, as a result of the actions of the Armenian forces, the adversary lost 11 UAVs, including one combat drone, one engineering armour, four 82A armored personnel carriers and five tanks.
1:10 p.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defence Ministry urged citizens to coordinate the assistance they send to the frontlines with the local government bodies, including the Ministry of Emergency Situations and other state bodies. He noted that people’s support is extremely important but it needs to be targeted. For now, there is no need to collect food as the Armenian Armed Forces do not need it.
2 p.m.: Armenia’s Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan Speaks with his Russian Counterpart
In a Facebook post, Armen Grigoryan, the Secretary of the Security Council, had a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev. The following is an unofficial translation of that post:
“I spoke about the situation on the Artsakh-Azerbaijan front line, I emphasized the war unleashed by Azerbaijan, including also their moving the war to the territory of the Republic of Armenia and targeting the civilian population. I underscored, that, along the entire length of the frontline, the Defense Army of Artsakh including also the Armenian Armed Forces are brilliantly fulfilling all the military tasks before them in terms of keeping the borders of our country impregnable, and are keeping the situation under their complete control. I also mentioned the negative impact on regional security that Turkey’s destabilizing position is having. The Secretary of the Russian Federation’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev has expressed his deep concern regarding the situation and the developments, emphasizing the need for a peaceful settlement of the conflict.”
2:10 p.m.: According to the Armenian Unified Infocenter, during the first minutes of a wide-scale attack, Azerbaijan fired from a BM-21 Grad, a 122 mm multiple rocket launcher at a residential neighborhood of Stepanakert, in the immediate vicinity of a school and kindergarten.
2:50 p.m.: Anna Hakobyan, PM Nikol Pashinyan’s wife, said in a Facebook post that she visited people in Stepanakert, who are staying in bunkers and have many household issues ranging from food to beds. She said that the Stepanakert Municipality will take care of placing beds in one of the shelters, while Armenia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations will distribute food. She also noted that women and elders in the bunkers are concerned but are standing firm.
3:45 p.m.: Arman Tatoyan, Human Rights Defender of Armenia said the following:
“Villages of Vardenis Region, in the Gegharkunik region of Armenia, have been under shelling from Azerbaijan since this morning. Data collected by us proves that the peaceful population is under targeted attacks.
One civilian has been killed as a result of shelling, as urgently confirmed to the Human Rights Defender of Armenia by official sources. Alarming complaints to our hotline have been received from civilians of the villages being bombarded.
We also received alerts from the healthcare staff of Vardenis Neuropsychological social-care home confirming that shelling caused fear among patients. Shelling has also been confirmed by the Human Rights Defender’s urgent official requests.”
5:50 p.m.: Starting from 10:30 a.m. today, F-16 fighters belonging to the Air Force of the Republic of Turkey took to the air from Azerbaijan’s Ganja airport and are securing aerial support for missile attacks by Azerbaijani Su-25 jets and Turkish-made Bayraktar UAVs from Azerbaijan’s Daylar airport in the direction of subdivisions of Armenia’s Armed Forces located in the wider Vardenis area.
During an aerial battle, the Turkish F-16 shot down an Armenian Su-25 fighter. The pilot was killed.
6:20 p.m.: Artsakh’s President Meets With Volunteers
Arayik Harutyunyan, the President of Artsakh, together with Armenia’s Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan, met with volunteers. He addressed them saying that love and devotion to the homeland is rooted in everyone’s consciousness, as has been evident during these days. “We will win because we are true in our aspirations and that is our destiny,” noted Harutyunyan.
9:30 p.m.: Artur Sargsyan, Deputy Commander of the Artsakh Defense Army during a press briefing said that military operations continued along the entire length of the Line of Contact, particularly along the north and south directions. Sargsyan said that Azerbaijan’s military put its entire arsenal to use including: helicopters, planes, rocket launchers, UAVs and has been pushed back to its original positions. According to Sargsyan, Azerbaijan has lost 17 tanks, four armored vehicles, three military vehicles, 13 UAVs and according to their estimates has suffered over 500 casualties since the start of the hostilities. He said that Armenian forces have also suffered casualties, the numbers are being clarified and will be published.
10:30 p.m.: During a press briefing, Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that fighting continued today during the entire length of the Line of Contact. The Armenian Armed Forces inflicted significant human and material losses to the adversary, Hovhannisyan said and added that since the first day of the hostilities, 790 Azerbaijani soldiers have been killed and 1,900 wounded. The Armenian side destroyed 137 tanks and armored vehicles, 72 UAVs, seven helicopters, and one airplane. He said that the battles are continuing and Azerbaijani forces are being successfully pushed back. Hovhannisyan stressed that today was unprecedented as the wider Vardenis area in Gegharkunik region, also came under Azerbaijani attack. Civilian settlements and infrastructures, including a bus and a water pipeline were intentionally targeted. Also Turkish F-16 fighters, which were in Azerbaijani territory for quite a long time, shot down a SU-25 fighter jet of the Armenian Air Force and the pilot was killed. Hovhannisyan said that they will provide information about Armenian losses tomorrow morning.
Announcement by Hayastan All Armenia Fund
“Hayastan” All-Armenian Fund has already raised about $3.1 million in its “We are our borders. Everyone for Artsakh” fundraiser.
Prime Minister Pashinyan Holds Phone Conversation with Antonio Guterres
By the initiative of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, PM Nikol Pashinyan held a phone conversation, speaking about the situation on the Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact. The PM stressed that the war was unleashed by Azerbaijan. Pashinyan noted that, in contrast to previous escalations, this one is characterized by Turkey’s active and biased position and its direct destabilizing involvement in Azerbaijan’s actions.
Guterres expressed deep concern over the current situation and the ongoing developments, stressing the need to resume the peace process within the OSCE Minsk Group format.
PM Pashinyan Speaks with Angela Merkel
PM Nikol Pashinyan held a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The Armenian Premier briefed the German Chancellor on the regional situation. Noting that Artsakh had been attacked by Azerbaijan, Nikol Pashinyan voiced his deep concern over the ongoing hostilities, which are threatening the security of Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia. The PM stressed that Turkey had been showing unprecedented activeness in the region ever since the July clashes. Pashinyan called on the German Chancellor to make every effort to curb Turkey’s aggressive and destructive stance, and rule out its further involvement in the region.
The German Chancellor expressed deep concern over the current situation. She said there is no alternative to a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and went on to emphasize that the peace process should be resumed in the OSCE Minsk Group format.
Security Council Holds Special Session, Chaired by PM Nikol Pashinyan
The Security Council held a special session, chaired by PM Nikol Pashinyan. Apart from the Security Council members, the meeting was attended by President Armen Sarkissian, National Assembly Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan, Chief of the Office of the PM Eduard Aghajanyan and Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Suren Papikyan.
The meeting focused on the operative situation on the Line of Contact and the Armed Forces’ retaliatory action aimed at delivering a proportionate counteroffensive.
A Joint Statement by Canada and the United Kingdom on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict
François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom issued the following statement:
“Canada and the UK are deeply concerned by reports of large scale military action along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. Reports of shelling of settlements and civilian casualties are deeply concerning. We call for the immediate end of hostilities, respect for the ceasefire agreement, and the protection of civilians.
“Any solution to this conflict must disavow violence and involve a peaceful, negotiated resolution through the framework provided by the OSCE’s Minsk process. We support the work of the OSCE’s Minsk Group and fully support the Co-Chairs’ statement of yesterday.”
International Media About Turkey Sending Proxy Fighters to Azerbaijan
Since the Azerbaijani offensive began on September 27, Reuters and The Guardian have published articles outlining evidence that Turkey is recruiting and sending Syrian rebel fighters to support Azerbaijan in its escalating conflict with neighboring Armenia. “The two fighters, from Turkish-backed rebel groups in areas of northern Syria under Turkish control, said they were deploying to Azerbaijan in coordination with Ankara,” says the article by Reuters. “The potential deployment is a sign of Turkey’s growing appetite for projecting power abroad, and opens a third theatre in its regional rivalry with Moscow,” says the article by the Guardian.