As mayors and governors across Armenia heed the Prime Minister’s call to form volunteer battalions, the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, after meeting their Russian counterpart in Moscow, head to Washington to meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. During a discussion at the Valdai Club earlier this evening, Russian President Vladimir Putin says that his country has a special relationship with both Armenia and Azerbaijan and they have a special interest in helping to find a solution to the conflict. Amid the shuttle diplomacy taking place and as the battles continue raging on the front line, the number of COVID-19 cases in Armenia has skyrocketed. Healthcare officials warn that with the number of wounded soldiers requiring medical care, if people don’t start following the anti-epidemic guidelines, the healthcare system could collapse.
Here is a chronology of official updates.
12:48 a.m.: Anna Naghdalyan, MFA spokesperson: Today, the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan issued a manipulative statement, in which an attempt was made to attribute the position of Azerbaijan and Turkey, which rejects the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, to the Armenian side.
The military aggression carried out by Azerbaijan against the people of Artsakh, with the direct involvement of Turkey and pro-Turkish terrorists, is aimed at annihilating the indigenous people of Artsakh and, from the very first day, has been accompanied by numerous violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes. Under these circumstances, ensuring the existential security of the people of Artsakh is imperative.
The Republic of Armenia consistently supports the unconditional implementation of the agreements on the cessation of hostilities set in the statements reached on October 10 and October 17, with the mediation of the leaders of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries.
Consistently pursuing the position of excluding the military settlement of the conflict, we once again emphasize that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be resolved exclusively by peaceful means, within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship, which holds an international mandate.
We call on Azerbaijan and its supporter Turkey not to undermine the efforts of the international community to establish a verifiable ceasefire regime, and not to engage in their traditional policy of blame shifting.
6 a.m.: Armenian National Committee of Australia: The largest parliamentary chamber in the largest state of Australia, the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, has officially recognized the independence of the Republic of Artsakh.
Championed by Dr. Hugh McDermott MP, the State Member for Prospect, and supported by Victor Dominello MP on behalf of the Government, the motion, which also condemned the current attacks by Azerbaijan and Turkey against the indigenous Armenians of Artsakh, passed 61 votes to 2 votes.
Tanya Davies MP also spoke in favour of the motion, delivering a powerful rebuke to the one speaker against the motion, Linda Voltz.
9:20 a.m. Artsrun Hovhannisyan, MoD: The situation in the Artsakh-Azerbaijani conflict zone was relatively stable and tense during the night. Artillery confrontations continued in some areas.
Currently, localized battles are taking place in all directions of the front line. In addition to localized battles, the adversary also initiated subversive incursions in the central direction, which were successfully countered by the Artsakh Defense Army.
The units of the Defense Army are successfully responding to any attempts to change the operative situation in their favor, and continue to fulfill the task set before them.
10:05 a.m.: Shushan Stepanyan, MoD spokesperson: Azerbaijan’s statement regarding Armenia firing ballistic missiles in the direction of Gabala and Kurdamir is a lie. No rocket was launched from the territory of the Republic of Armenia in the direction of Azerbaijan.
11:05 a.m.: According to the Artsakh Ministry of Emergency Situations, since the morning of October 22, Azerbaijani forces are using artillery in the direction of Martuni and the surrounding villages. Information about casualties and damage is still not available.
Mayors, Governors, Volunteer to Serve in the Armed Forces
12 p.m.: A number of mayors and regional governors across Armenia are voluntarily joining the Armenian Armed Forces after the announcement by PM Nikol Pashinyan for the people to form volunteer units to protect the homeland.
Diana Gasparyan, Mayor of Echmiadzin
“I, the only woman mayor in Armenia, announce that today I will volunteer and defend my Homeland, and will play my part toward victory,” said Gasparyan, adding that she had been to the burials of the”brave martyrs of Etchmiadzin, and shared the grief of their wives, mothers and sisters. “I had a feeling of guilt. I have seen 18-year-old soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the protection of our homeland, and I owe it to them as much as I can. Now I… call on the men of Etchmiadzin to enlist in the army, form volunteer battalions and defend our homeland.”
Samvel Balasanyan, Mayor of Gyumri
“Dear fellow citizens,
“Following the call of Armenia’s Prime Minister, I volunteer to defend our holy homeland. At this crucial moment, we all shall unite and fight together to achieve our modern victory.”
Hayk Marutyan, Yerevan Mayor
The formulation of a volunteer battalion unit of Yerevan is in process. Hayk Marutyan, the Mayor of the city will lead the unit.
Andrey Ghukasyan, Regional Governor of Lori
“Following the call of Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, I, the regional governor of Lori, Andrey Ghukasyan, without any hesitation, am voluntarily joining the sacred mission to defend my Motherland.
“A few minutes ago, at the end of the session of the regional council, community leaders of the region unanimously joined the call of the Prime Minister. Dear people of Lori, this is the time, there’ s no way back. I believe in our unity, I believe that defending our Homeland is above all for every Armenian.”
Hayk Chobanyan, Regional Governor of Tavush
“In response to the Prime Minister’s call, I met with Tavush community leaders and administrative leaders in the evening. We have unanimously reaffirmed our readiness to enlist and defend our homeland. Community volunteer battalions are being formed. Our homeland needs all of us to strengthen the victory on the battlefield. Let each of us do our best for the victory, for the sake of Armenia.”
Tigran Petrosyan, Governor of Shirak
“Dear compatriots, dear citizens of Shirak, in response to the call of Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, we appeal to the residents of our region, state and local government structures, representatives of parties in the region, non-governmental organizations, civil initiatives to volunteer for the sacred mission – to defend our homeland. We all know the historical turning point in which we live right now – this is a new Sardarapat, this is the decisive struggle of our existence and identity, and in this struggle we have one thing to do – to fight till the end, until the victorious end.”
Ararat Grigoryan, Regional Governor of Vayots Dzor
“Dear compatriots, dear citizens of Vayots Dzor,
“In this life-and-death war for the sake of the homeland, we are going through difficult but crucial episodes as a nation and people, not only securing our right to exist, but also building a stable and happy future for our children. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called us to unite, to form self-defense battalions and participate in the sacred mission to defend our homeland.
“Following the call of the Supreme Commander of the Republic of Armenia, I myself will join and encourage our brave people of Vayots Dzor, to all the inhabitants of our region to volunteer, unite, fight and continue the unfinished work of our ancestors, the immortal lion-hearted people of Vayots Dzor. The protection of our homeland, the peaceful and safe future for our mothers and children, the protection of our homes depend on each of us.”
Hambardzum Matevosyan, Regional Governor of Armavir
Regional Governor of Armavir Hambardzum Matevosyan announced the formation of volunteer troops. He said that the leaders of all the regional communities, led by him, are ready to enlist in the armed forces, go to Artsakh and defend the Homeland.
Garik Sargsyan, Regional Governor of Ararat
“I took my military oath 15 years ago, and now the time has come for me, faithful to my oath, together with my comrades-in-arms, to take part in the defense of the homeland’s borders and in the sacred cause of securing our victory.
“Volunteer detachments are now being formed in all the communities of Ararat region, which will be headed by the community leaders or any person responsible from the community. Dear citizens of Ararat, hurry to volunteer with your regular detachment, let us join our hero boys fighting on the front line.”
12:17 p.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan/MoD announced that tense localized battles continue in various directions. Different groups of Azerbaijani troops have been neutralized.
2 p.m.: Russian lawmaker Konstantin Zatulin has not ruled out the possibility that Russia might intervene militarily in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. According to RIA Novosti, Zatulin said that Azerbaijan and Turkey instigated the attack against Artsakh and that both countries should be reminded “which country remains the leader in the post-Soviet space.” Putin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that there is no alternative to a peaceful settlement.
5 p.m.: The Artsakh Defense Ministry has released the names of 40 servicemen killed in battle.
Vardanyan, Mkrtich [Khachaturi], b. 1987
Balasanyan, Khachatur [Sergeyi], b. 1985
Grigoryan, Vanik [Araqeli], b. 1984
Sahakyan, Garnik [Roberti], b. 1985
Mardanyan, Hayk [Romiki], b. 1979
Babajanyan, Aleksey [Alekseyi], b. 1978
Gevorgyan, Artur [Rubiki], b. 1980
Kirakosyan, Armen [Asaturi], b. 1984
Melkonyan, Serob [Samveli], b. 1989
Shakhmuradyan, Hakob [Manveli], b. 1995
Kirakosyan, Artur [Avetisi], b. 1977
Avetisyan, Arsen [Sahaki], b. 1985
Davtyan, Gagik [Khachaturi], b. 1977
Tadevosyan, Vagharshak [Harutyuni], b. 1981
Ghanadyan, Shanen [Lavrenti], b. 1978
Mkrtchyan, Sargis [Feliksi], b. 1994
Sargsyan, Arshaluys [Gagiki], b. 1996
Hajinyan, Hovhannes [Ashoti], b. 1981 (reservist)
Hovsepyan, Artur [Sosi], b. 1987
Ghularyan, Aram [Vazgeni], b. 1992
Amirkhanyan, Mkhitar [Martiki], b. 1989 (reservist)
Edilyan, Arayik [Ararati], b. 1995
Khachatryan, Mayis [Vazgeni], b. 1987
Yenokyan, Artak [Samveli], b. 2000
Yesayan, Vashiktor [Grishayi], b. 1986
Grigoryan, Armen [Gagiki], b. 1988
Hovhannisyan, Hrant [Ararati], b. 1991
Simonyan, Gevorg [Grigori], b. 1987
Andresyan, Zhirayr [Sulikoyi], b. 1977
Martirosyan, Armen [Seyrani], b. 1987
Misakyan, Arkadi [Tigrani], b. 1985
Karapetyan, Harutyun [Hamleti], b. 1996
Gogoryan, Aren [Alexandri], b. 1991
Gasparyan, Sirekan [Aharoni], b. 1994
Varosyan, Avetik [Arseni], b. 1990
Ohanyan, Vakhtang [Aghvani], b. 1996
Gulinyan, Nver [Zhorayi], b. 1996 (reservist)
Arushanyan, Eduard [Hrantiki], b. 1972 (reservist)
Srapionyan, Arman [Artaki], b. 1999
Hakobyan, Davit [Gagiki], b. 2000
7:30 p.m.: Vahram Poghosyan, spokesperson of Artsakh’s President, wrote the following on his Facebook Page: Active military operations continue along the entire front line. The Defense Army is currently engaged in intense battles near the villages of Shekher and Jivani in the Martuni region. The adversary has suffered sizable losses of manpower.
7:52 p.m.: The Defense Army reports that its air defense units have downed another Turkish-made Bayraktar UAV.
Pashinyan: Armenia Not Opposed to Deployment of Peacekeepers
8 p.m.: In an excerpt from a yet unpublished interview, the Russian INTERFAX cites Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan saying that the Armenian side is not opposed to the deployment of peacekeepers in the Karabakh conflict zone and that the peacekeepers could be Russian. INTERFAX also reports Pashinyan saying that the Azerbaijani and Armenian views on the makeup of the peacekeeping forces do not coincide. The presence of Russian peacekeepers could be a compromise reached by the sides, both Armenia and Azerbaijan have good relations with Russia. Pashinyan is also cited as saying that it is important to take into consideration the other countries in the region and that the given peacekeeping force be able to stabilize the region and not the other way around.
Azerbaijani POW Says Turkish Military Experts In Charge of Azerbaijan’s Offensive Against Karabakh
8 p.m.: Emin Bakhshalin Jahir Oghlu, an Azerbaijani prisoner of war and currently receiving treatment in one of the hospitals of Artsakh, said that Turkish military experts are in charge of the Azerbaijani offensive against Artsakh. In a video, he says that three such experts came with them to conduct training. It was evident from their military outfit and the way they talked. He goes on to say that the classes were conducted in accordance with the programs prepared by them and lasted between ten to fifteen days. According to Emin, those experts are currently in commanding points and that the Azerbaijani commanders do not act independently.
Speaking about his health condition, the Azerbaijani POW says that his wounds are being treated and bandages are changed every day.
Russian President Says Conflict Started With Sumgait Pogrom, Says 5000 Have Already Died in the War
8:15 p.m.: As the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan head to Washington to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, President Vladimir Putin said he hopes that America will act together with Russia to try and find a settlement to the Karabakh conflict. Putin said this on a program called the Valdai Discussion Club this evening. The Russian president said the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh between the Armenian side and Azerbaijan initially had the character of an ethnic confrontation and began with crimes against the Armenian people. “This conflict began not just as an interstate conflict and a struggle for territories, it began with ethnic confrontation. Unfortunately, this is a fact, when in Sumgait and then in Nagorno-Karabakh brutal crimes were committed against the Armenian people. We must take all this into account as a whole,” noted Putin.
The Russian leader says that his country has a special relationship with both Armenia and Azerbaijan and they have a special interest in helping to find a solution to the conflict. It is necessary to find acceptable compromises for both sides of the conflict, Putin noted, adding that close to 5000 people have already been killed in the fighting, with at least 2000 losses on each side.
Defense Ministry Live Press Briefing
10 p.m.: During a live press briefing, Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that during the day, Azerbaijani forces continued their offensive along the entire length of the front line. Military operations were active in the northern and southern parts. Military operations in the central direction were towards specific settlements. Hovhannisyan noted that those localized battles which are mainly in the form of infiltrations by Azerbaijani subversive groups into smaller communities, continue now. In the south, in many of the localized points, Azerbaijani troops are trying to advance their positions towards the north, west and northwest. All of their attempts have been repelled and in some cases were pushed back, causing significant human and equipment losses, Hovhannisyan said. Artillery is mainly being utilized, although in some places, the air forces are also being used. Today, Armenian forces shot down yet another Turkish-made Bayraktar drone.
Lusine Paronyan, Epidemiologist of the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention
There is unprecedented growth in the number of COVID patients with an additional 500 patients a day. Paronyan said this is a direct result of people’s behavior and if not curbed, it will soon result in the collapse of the healthcare system. It might lead to a situation where patients in critical condition needing hospitalization will not be able to receive proper care. Currently, there are about 2000 patients in hospital and the health ministry is constantly increasing bed capacity. There are now many patients who need to be hospitalized but are still at home waiting for beds to open up. Some are being sent home after a few days of treatment upon the slightest improvement to make room for other patients. Understandably, at times of war, everyone’s attention is directed at the front line and the pandemic has become a secondary concern. “This has unfortunately brought us to this stage when we have an unprecedented progression of COVID numbers,” Paronyan said. “Bear in mind that our soldiers need our healthcare resources, our doctors even more and we should do everything in our power to stop this progression and bring down the numbers. Our experience of the last 10 months has shown that we are able to decrease the numbers when anti-epidemic rules are followed. Now the numbers are ten times higher than what we had at the beginning of September.” Paronyan said that the health ministry is sharing its COVID-19 database of patients and their contacts with the defense ministry to minimize the risk of infections in the Army.
Speaking about the situation on the Artsakh-Iran border, Hovhannisyan said that active military operations are ongoing. Answering a question about the number of casualties and the announcement of the Russian President Vladimir Putin that each of the sides has close to 2,000 deaths, Hovhannisyan stressed that the Russian President gave general numbers. He went on to say that the Azerbaijani side along with its allies has several times more casualties than the Armenian side. “This is an absolute truth and there can be no doubt about that,” added Hovhannisyan.
Hovhannisyan reminded that subversive units of Azerbaijani forces infiltrate areas close to where the military operations are taking place to create an atmosphere of panic or to take pictures. He urged everyone to be alert and to not give in to panic and be organized. Those groups are usually small and after they are successfully pushed back, they usually do not return to the same communities. Hovhannisyan noted that is what happened in the case of Hadrut and Fizuli.
10 p.m.: Armenian Unified Infocenter published the names of 26 servicemen killed in battle.
Khalatyan, Grigor [Sevadayi], b. 2001
Mnatsakanyan, Karen [Karapeti], b. 2002
Babayan, Armenak [Mnatsakani], b. 2000
Muradyan, Khachik [Mesropi], b. 2001
Danielyan, Davit [Hmayaki], b. 2000
Khekoyan, Rafik [Zaliki], b. 2000
Kostandyan, Vrezh [Arseni], b. 2000
Avetisyan, Surik [Ishkhani], b. 2001
Zakaryan, Shota [Azizi], b. 2001
Aslamazyan, Aghvan [Smbati], b. 2000
Nahapetyan, Ilya [Vahani], b. 2001
Sargsyan, Vahe [Sargsi], b. 2000
Aghamalyan, Vahe [Sahaki], b. 2000
Barsumyan, Styopa [Davti], b. 2001
Hakobyan, Davit [Ishkhani], b. 2001
Hovhannisyan, Narek [Arturi], b. 2000
Badalyan, Makich [Harutyuni], b. 2002
Balbabyan, Lyova [Rafayeli], b. 1983
Tadevosyan, Vardan [Serozhi], b. 1980
Hovhannisyan, Varazdat [Leviki], b. 1995
Mkrtchyan, Razmik [Galusti], b. 1999
Ananayan, Samvel [Anatolii], b. 1988
Petrosyan, Babken [Arturi], b. 1993
Kirakosyan, Zohrap [Abrahami], b. 1985
Safaryan, Badal [Gevorgi], b. 1965
Harutyunyan, Styopa [Varuzhani], b. 2001
Move to Exclude Turkey from List of Countries Entitled to EAEU Tariff Privileges
The government of Armenia reports that, on the initiative of Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan, the forthcoming session of the Eurasian Economic Union will discuss removing a number of countries, including Turkey, from the list of countries entitled to EAEU tariff privileges. The list of countries benefiting from the privileges was approved in 2009 by the decision of the Customs Union Commission. Currently, 103 countries enjoy the benefits.
World Health Organization Concerned Regarding “Escalation in Hostilities” in Artsakh
The following statement was issued by the WHO Regional Director for Europe on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict:
WHO remains concerned regarding the escalation in hostilities in the areas of and around Nagorno-Karabakh.
Since late September, the violence has displaced tens of thousands of civilians, injured hundreds and killed many. Our deepest thoughts are with every family, every member of the community affected.
The hostilities are already contributing to a dramatic acceleration in COVID-19 transmission. Continued cycles of violence and subsequent population displacement will exacerbate the precariousness of the health situation.
The conflict is causing a direct disruption to health care, further burdening health systems that are already stretched by the pandemic. This comes at a time when COVID-19 case numbers across the WHO European Region continue to surge.
WHO calls for no time lost nor efforts unspent in protecting lives and livelihoods from a public health threat unprecedented in our lifetimes.
WHO urges all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and health-care facilities caring for the wounded and sick in line with international humanitarian law. In the context of COVID-19, it is especially crucial that all health workers are kept safe from violence so they can sustain the pandemic response.
An immediate cessation of hostilities is vital to preserve access to health services – a fundamental human right.
President Armen Sarkissian: Ceasefire is Absolute Necessity, Turkey Must Withdraw From This Conflict
President Armen Sarkissian, who is in Brussels on a working visit, met President of the European Council Charles Michel.
The President of Armenia spoke in detail about the large-scale military aggression of Azerbaijan against the Republic of Artsakh, which was launched on September 27, and Turkey’s involvement in military and political assistance to Azerbaijan.
“On September 27, Azerbaijan made a decision to reject the process of peace negotiations and unleash a war while Turkey has been providing them full political, diplomatic and military assistance,” President Armen Sarkissian noted.
“Violence in Nagorno-Karabakh must stop,” President of the European Council Charles Michel said. He inquired about regional developments taking place in the context of the conflict. The President of Armenia spoke of the situation in detail and noted that Turkey has been conducting a destabilizing policy in the region and poses a serious threat for the stability and security of the region.
The parties expressed deep concern with the ongoing military activities which might result in a huge humanitarian crisis. Charles Michel said that the ceasefire must be observed and negotiations must resume without preconditions.
President Sarkissian stressed as very important that the international partners understand the essence of the conflict and make clear appeals to stop the war. “Ceasefire is an absolute necessity, while Turkey must withdraw from this conflict,” the President of Armenia underscored.
PM Spokesperson: Armenia Always Ready for Peaceful Settlement of Karabakh Conflict
9:50 p.m.: Mane Gevorgyan, Spokesperson of the Prime Minister: Armenia has always been and is ready today as well for a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
The Prime Minister of Armenia, in his address on October 21, has reiterated that Armenia has always been ready and is ready today for a concessional resolution to the Karabakh conflict. The Prime Minister of Armenia has also expressed readiness to meet the Azerbaijani President in Moscow. Armenia is highly appreciative of the efforts of the Minsk Group Co-Chair countries and especially the mediation efforts of the Russian Federation.
Azerbaijan considers military force the main factor for the resolution of the conflict and continuously violates the ceasefire agreements.
Consequently, the Armenian nation needs to consolidate its defense potential to back up its efforts on the diplomatic front.
We reiterate, at this stage, the Karabakh conflict can not have a diplomatic resolution as a result of Azerbaijan’s deconstructive stance.
On numerous occasions, including in recent days, Prime Minister Pashinyan has emphasized that Armenia is ready for negotiations based on reciprocal concessions, however, practice has shown that the approach is unacceptable for Azerbaijan.
The Prime Minister’s thesis, which I will repeat here, says that the resolution of the Karabakh conflict has to be acceptable for the people of Armenia, the people of Artsakh and the people of Azerbaijan. No such statement, including any statement about concessions, was made by Aliyev.
Catalonia Condemns Attacks on Civilians by Azerbaijani Armed Forces
The Parliament of Catalonia on October 21 called for an end to hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, condemning attacks on civilians by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, supporting constructive talks between the parties on a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Based on the will of the majority of the people of Karabakh.
Ad Hoc Report by Artsakh’s Ombudsman on the Azerbaijani Targeted Attacks Against Ghazanchetsots Cathedral
Starting from the early morning of September 27, 2020, Azerbaijan began launching indiscriminate airstrikes (including UAV strikes) and artillery assaults against the Republic of Artsakh (Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh) along the entire length of the Line of Contact.
Villages, towns and the capital Stepanakert have been intensively attacked, which caused numerous casualties and injuries among civilians. As of October 20, 2020, 37 civilians have been killed, including children, women and a person with a disability. Large-scale damage has been caused to civilian objects, such as residential buildings, schools, etc., as well as infrastructure vital to the survival of the civilian population. The lives and health of children, women and the entire population of Artsakh are still under an imminent and real threat.
During this aggression, Azerbaijan is also intentionally targeting the cultural and religious heritage of Armenians in Artsakh. This is a part of the cleansing of ethnic Armenians living in Artsakh.
On October 8, 2020, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces launched two intentional assaults on the Holy Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral of Artsakh in the town of Shushi, which is the recognizable cultural and religious symbol of Artsakh. The Azerbaijani forces struck the cathedral twice within a few hours, using drones. This act of Azerbaijan is in line with its continuous practice of destroying the Armenian cultural heritage of Artsakh. It also demonstrates radical disrespect towards the Christian element of Armenian identity.
The current report presents the facts on the targeted attacks on the Holy Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral, analyzing it in the context of International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law.
In preparing the report, fact-finding missions and monitoring of official sources and media publications were undertaken.