As civilian infrastructure continues to be targeted in Stepanakert, the Azerbaijani military launched another large-scale offensive in the southern direction of the Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact today. During a live press briefing this morning, Armenia’s Health Minister Arsen Torosyan said that the need for healthcare delivery for the wounded civilian population and the military is being hampered by ongoing military operations and the incessant bombardment of the capital of Artsakh.
As Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service announced that they had information about mercenaries from international terrorist organizations making their way to Azerbaijan, raising concerns that the South Caucasus could become a new springboard for hundreds if not thousands of terrorists, Artsakh’s Foreign Ministry issued a call to governments to stop arming Azerbaijan.
Any prospects for a de-escalation or a ceasefire seem unlikely as Stepanakert and Shushi are being shelled as we publish this briefing. Now in its tenth day, the Artsakh War could set off a chain of reactions that will reverberate far beyond the current theater of military operations.
President of Artsakh Arayik Harutyunyan on the Military Situation
1:30 a.m.: In the early morning hours of October 6, Arayik Harutyunyan, the President of Artsakh, briefed the nation about the situation on the Line of Contact saying that the Armenian side has registered stable success on the front line. Harutyunyan said that the Defense Army is resisting the encroachments of the adversary, causing significant human and material losses. Harutyunyan noted that this probably explains why Azerbaijan’s army fired more that 100 missiles from Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers in the direction of the capital Stepanakert.
In his address, Harutyunyan also thanked the Diaspora for the donations and urged the Armenian people to continue fundraising for the recovery of Artsakh after the expected victory.
“Our nationwide unity once again shows that Azerbaijan has already lost the war. The victory is ours and let no-one doubt it.”
9:20 a.m.: Artak Beglaryan, the Ombudsman of Artsakh said that according to updated data of the fact-finding mission, 19 civilians were killed, 80 wounded, 2,100 private properties, 240 cars, 350 infrastructures and public property were damaged. He also tweeted that yesterday was the most intense day for Stepanakert and that over 100 heavy missiles were shot at residential buildings and civilian infrastructures by Azerbaijan.
Situation on Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact Tense But Stable
9:30 a.m.: Armenian Defense Ministry Spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan wrote the following on her Facebook page: After numerous calls by the international community to immediately cease military operations in the conflict zone, the situation on the Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact was relatively calm overnight. In the event of further escalations, the entire responsibility will fall on the shoulders of the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan.
9:30 a.m.: President of Artsakh, Arayik Harutyunyan wrote the following on his Facebook page:
“Overall the situation on the front line last night has been relatively stable. The Defense Army continues to brilliantly and professionally fulfill the military tasks set before it.
“Under the conditions of the military situation, all the government institutions are working effectively as well. Everyone has a clear understanding of what needs to be done both in the “rear and on the front line.
“Everything is under my immediate and full control and coordination.
“Victory will be ours, be sure of that.”
9:45 a.m.: According to the Armenian Unified Infocenter: After numerous calls by the international community, in particular the statement by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries to immediately cease military operations in the Artsakh-Azerbaijani conflict zone, the situation on the frontline was intense but relative calm was maintained. The Defense Army is in full control of the operative-tactical situation and is ready for any further developments.
Health Minister Arsen Torosyan on Healthcare Services in Artsakh
10 a.m.: During a live press briefing from Goris, Armenia’s Health Minister Arsen Torosyan said he returned from Stepanakert late last night. He said that because of Azerbaijan’s aggressive military operations the situation is extremely critical in Artsakh. There are numerous killed and wounded, both among the military and the civilian population. The city is under heavy indiscriminate shelling. The Azerbaijani military is making no distinctions between civilian infrastructure and military facilities. “This is critically disrupting our ability to organize services,” he noted. The medical community in Artsakh is completely mobilized with assistance from Armenia. The constant shelling is making it extremely difficult to provide medical care taking into consideration the condition of the roads, issues with electricity.
Torosyan said that he witnessed firsthand a missile attack extremely close to Stepanakert’s Republican Hospital. Taking into consideration the modus operandi of the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan, there is a prevailing understanding that they will not refrain from hitting medical infrastructure as well, something that is qualified as a crime of war, he said.
The Health Minister said that all of Stepanakert is covered in fragments of ordnances, banned weapons, there are destroyed residential buildings, rubble everywhere, buildings razed to the ground. “We consider this unacceptable,” he said because it makes it impossible to deliver medical assistance.
Notwithstanding the situation, the entire medical community is standing firm by our compatriots, Torosyan said. “I reaffirm that we shall persevere and win this war.”
Torosyan responded to numerous questions by international and Armenian journalists. Regarding the availability of equipment and necessary staff, the Minister said that both civilian and military hospitals in Artsakh have all the necessary supplies – pharmaceuticals, equipment and blood. “It is our number one priority right now to keep the supply uninterrupted. We also have doctors volunteering to go and work in Artsakh and there are even instances when we have to turn them down. We are also undertaking operational management, meaning that we are coordinating the movement of medical staff and supplies from one place to another within Artsakh depending on the situation,” he said.
Asked about how he sees the resolution of the conflict, Arsen Torosyan said: “We have said on many occasions that the resolution of this conflict can only be achieved through peaceful negotiations. We have also said consistently that an attempt to solve the conflict through military means carries considerable risks to regional as well as international security. I’m sure that the geopolitical power centers of the region, namly Russia that is in a military alliance with Armenia and a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, including also the other Minsk Group co-chair countries are as motivated as we are to stabilize the situation and are doing everything in their power to that end. With their efforts and with Armenia’s collaboration and bearing in mind the strength of the Armenian Army there will be a solution that is favorable for Armenia.”
Torosyan was asked about the number of military casualties for both Armenia and Karabakh and whether he could confirm that the Russian prime minister had visited Armenia yesterday. Torosyan said that he does have information about military casualties, however, the numbers are being reported by the Ministry of Defense and that the job of the Ministry of Health is to tend to the needs of the wounded. He said that the Russian Prime Minister has not yet visited Armenia, but that there is a EEAU intergovernmental meeting on October 8-9, which was scheduled some time ago. The Ministry of Health also has some meetings scheduled. “I suggest you address the question to the Prime Minister after the meeting takes place,” Torosyan said.
A reporter asked whether Torosyan had seen cluster munitions being used and that last night and this morning it has been relatively quiet in Stepanakert and could this be conditioned by negotiations and rumors in the media about a ceasefire.
Torosyan said that since he is not a military person and not being well versed in the different kinds of ammunition being used, he will defer to his colleagues in that matter who can confirm whether that is the case. “What I saw myself was destroyed buildings. And let us presume that the damage that I saw was caused by weapons that are not banned, it would still be unacceptable,” Torosyan said. “As for the kinds of ammunition used, the defense ministry is presenting all the evidence, video and photo as well as physical evidence. Please ask for the details from them.” He added that he has information that shelling had resumed this morning and sirens were on in Stepanakert. “And there has not been any considerable change in the load of the work that pertains to medical services between yesterday and today. It is of primary importance to provide uninterrupted medical service especially to the civilian population, which under such shelling becomes next to impossible. We are not talking only about injuries, the other medical issues of the population do not go away when there is war, a man with a heart attack being transported to the hospital by ambulance is still a target for UAVs or other kinds of rocket artillery, which is unacceptable.”
A reporter from Azatutyun TV, noting that it is understandable that the Ministry of Defense is presenting the number of the military casualties and the wounded wanted to know if Torosyan could provide what percentage of the injuries of soldiers was life threatening. “There are also families of soldiers who are not able to find out what their son is being treated or to receive information about his health. Can you please advise on what they can do? You also said that there is a chance that the adversary might directly target the hospital, in that case, what would be plan B? Does the hospital have a proper shelter?” the reporter asked.
Torosyan replied that he does not have precise information that the hospital will be targeted, only that he assumes this could be the case after analyzing the actions of the adversary and seeing that they are indiscriminately shelling civilian infrastructure: “With this in mind, we have planned ways to organize medical services in alternative ways in all medical institutions of Artsakh, the plans were in place before this escalation as well.”
Regarding getting information about the condition of wounded soldiers, Torosyan said the issue will be coordinated and resolved latest by tomorrow. A hotline will also be set up, however, the Minister said that in the overriding number of cases, families have been able to be in touch with their sons, and that there were some cases when the soldier was unconscious and it was difficult to identify him. “Most of the injuries are light or medium injuries. We also have critical and extremely critical injuries but those are a smaller percentage and they are receiving the utmost care from the medical staff,” he said. “Unfortunately many with critical injuries often do not make it to the hospital.”
A reporter from Russia Today asked about the situation in hospitals in Armenia regarding the arrival of the injured from Artsakh and what kind of services the ministry is providing for the refugees.
Torosyan said that the Armenian healthcare system is now working in three main directions – continuing to provide medical services to the population, fighting against COVID-19, and providing medical care to both civilian and military injuries. He stressed that this military escalation is happening at a time when there has been a clear call by all international organizations for a global ceasefire due to the pandemic.
The Minister said that Armenia’s government has made available the most inclusive medical services package to all residents of Artsakh who are currently in Armenia. They have also organized transportation to Armenia for the most vulnerable: “These are people with mental health issues, people in need of special medical treatment like dialysis.”
Asked whether there is any need for medical equipment or supplies to be sent from abroad, Torosyan said that there is no immediate need. What is available now is being transported from one location to the other as needed. Depending on the development of the situation, it is possible that in the future there will be a need for new supplies. “As a precautionary measure, we have already made new purchases. However if there are individuals or organizations who would like to help us in the matter, I would ask them to contact the Ministry of Health so that we can coordinate efforts to make sure what is being acquired is in fact what is needed,” he said.
Special Session of Parliament
10 a.m.: During the first reading, the National Assembly discussed and approved the draft bill tabled by the Government to make amendments to the Law on Defense. Gabriel Balayan, the Deputy Defense Minister, said if the bill passes, it would allow the Government to approve a new mobilization plan of the economy, considering the aggression launched by Azerbaijan and Turkey and martial law that has been declared in Armenia. The mobilization plan of the economy will play an important role in mitigating the consequences of the aggression. The Government believes that the adoption of the bill is urgent.
Artur Asoyan, the Head of the Inspection Bodies’ Coordination Bureau, presented the Government’s draft bill to make amendments and changes to the Law on Environmental Control and other related laws. It passed in the second reading. According to the proposed changes, the inspection body will be authorized to immediately suspend the activities of a business, if there is a threat to human life and health, as well as to the environment. The inspection body will also be authorized to conduct monitoring activities.
Parliament also discussed the draft bill to make amendments in the Law on Social Assistance to Border Communities. The bill was tabled by Sisak Gabrielyan and Sipan Pashinyan, MPs of My Step faction. It passed in the second reading. The new law will allow the government to provide compensation to all those communities that have suffered agricultural damage because of the Azerbaijani offensive.
Azerbaijani Disinformation Campaign
1:30 p.m.: Shushan Stepanyan, Defense Ministry spokesperson, said that the Azerbaijani side continues spreading false information claiming that the Armenian Armed Forces are shelling the peaceful settlements of Azerbaijan. “The military-political leadership of Azerbaijan continues its policy of misleading the international community and its own people,” she said. “We declare that the Armenian side did not open fire in the direction of Azerbaijan. At the same time, it is obvious that the misinformation spread by the official Baku is aimed at preparing ground for the propaganda for resuming the hostilities, ignoring the statements of the international community, in particular calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities.”
Names of Servicemen Killed in Action Released
2:15 p.m.: The Artsakh Defense Ministry released the names of an additional 21 servicemen killed in action.
Martirosyan, Lernik [Makichi], b. 1988
Miskaryan, Seyran [Samveli], b. 1986
Palaqyan, Karen [Konoyi], b. 1988
Arakelyan, Gegham [Hrachiki], b. 1977
Minasyan, Kamo [Manveli], b. 1984
Andryan, Valeri [Vaghinaki], b. 1981
Vardanyan, Harutyun [Vardani], b. 1995
Kirakosyan, Ivan [Martiki], b. 1991
Hovhannisyan, Arkadi [Shiraki], b. 1983
Mkhitaryan, Azat [Vahagi], b. 1991
Levonyan, Sedrak [Henriki], b.1976
Asatryan, Simon [Geghami], b. 1967
Gasparyan, Eduard [Yervandi], b. 1988
Galstayn, Aram [Galusti], b. 2000
Ghulyan, Hayk [Baghdasari], b. 2001
Movsisyan, Sasun [Sevaki], b. 2001
Hakobyan, Gor [Lyovayii], b. 2000
Harutyunyan, Artur [Samveli], b. 2001
Avetisyan, Vrej [Armeni], b. 2000
Yengibaryan, Armen [Samveli], b. 1997
Karapetyan, Israyel [Gevorgi], b. 2000
2:55 p.m.: Vahram Poghosyan, the Spokesperson of Artsakh’s President announced that the situation in Artsakh continues to be stable but tense. He said that the Defense Army continues “to inflict new losses to the enemy’s terrorist units in all directions.” He also noted that the Defence Army has registered some success in military positions.
Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service on New Mercenaries Joining Azerbaijani Side
4 p.m.: According to TASS Russian News Agency, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service announced that they have information about mercenaries from international terrorist organizations in the Middle East, including Jahbat al-Nusra, Firkat al-Hamza, Sultan Murad, as well as Kurdish extremist groups are in the [Nagorno-Karabakh] conflict zone.
Director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin said that he is worried Transcaucasia can become a new springboard for hundreds of terrorists. He noted that hundreds, even thousands of radicals are hoping to make money in the new Karabakh war. He stressed that it is important for the sides to return to discussions noting that “he has no doubt that, with the assistance of the international community, the parties to the conflict will eventually stop using force and sit down at the negotiating table.” According to Naryashkin, for Russia, as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, a new war in the region is inadmissible. “We are not indifferent to the fact that as a result of hostilities people from our allies Armenia and Azerbaijan die,” said Naryashkin.
Azerbaijani Forces Launch Large-Scale Offensive
4:30 p.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that according to the information provided by the Artsakh Defense Army, the Azerbaijani armed forces launched a large-scale offensive in the southern direction of the Line of Contact between Artsakh and Azerbaijan using reserve forces and military equipment, including tanks and artillery. “The enemy is ignoring the security of the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Hovhannisyan. “The capabilities of the adversary are being methodologically and continually destroyed.”
Armenia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry Issues Statement
4:30 p.m.: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement that according to the information received from the Defense Army of Artsakh, since this afternoon the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, concentrating reserve forces and a large number of military equipment, including tanks and artillery, launched a large-scale attack towards the southern direction of the line of contact between Artsakh and Azerbaijan.
These actions are taking place during the visit of the Foreign Minister of Turkey to Baku and hours after the statement of the Foreign Minister of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
The Defense Forces of Artsakh undertakes all the necessary measures to repel the attack.The military political leadership of Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the consequences.
4:50 p.m.: Vahram Poghosyan, the spokesperson of the President of Artsakh, said that following forceful retaliation by the Defense Army, the adversary suffered significant human and equipment losses: “The large-scale attacks on the southern direction of the Line of Contact that were launched a few hours earlier, are the last futile attempts to achieve some result.”
4:53 p.m.: According to Shushan Stepanyan, Ministry of Defense Spokesperson, Azerbaijani forces have started shelling Stepanakert.
Kremlin Spokesperson: Active Mediation Taking Place
6 p.m.: Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov announced today that the Russian Federation’s efforts are currently concentrated towards establishing communication towards the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Ria Novosti reports Peskov as saying that it would be difficult to imagine more active efforts than the ones currently undertaken. He noted that “Russia is one of the countries that can mediate in the settlement of this conflict.”
ECHR Applies Interim Measures Again
7:15 p.m.: On October 4, the Government of Armenia submitted a request to the ECHR on applying interim measures against Turkey, considering the diverse assistance it provides to the Azerbaijani attacks against the civilian population and objects of the Republic of Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia.
The Court notes that on September 29, 2020 it called upon both Azerbaijan and Armenia to refrain from taking any measures, in particular military actions, which might entail breaches of the European Convention rights of the civilian population, including putting their life and health at risk. It also called upon both parties to comply with their engagements under the Convention, notably in respect of Article 2 (right to life) and Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) of the Convention.
Taking account of the escalation of the conflict, the Court has decided to apply Rule 39 of the Rules of Court (interim measures) again. It now calls on all States directly or indirectly involved in the conflict, including Turkey, to refrain from actions that contribute to breaches of the Convention rights of civilians, and to respect their obligations under the Convention.
9 p.m.: During a live press briefing, Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Defense Ministry explained the situation today. He said shelling of Stepanakert resumed in the morning. The city, the civilian populated areas, and other infrastructure continue to be shelled. There are casualties and injuries. The battles also intensified during the day, especially in the southern direction. Azerbaijani forces once again attempted a large-scale attack across the length of the Arax River using its entire arsenal as well as mercenaries. The data from the morning shows that Azerbaijan has 300 casualties, 11 armored vehicles, two helicopters and two UAVs destroyed. This is the data from yesterday and does not include Azerbaijan’s military losses from today.
The battles intensified especially in the afternoon. “As always our army does not merely act in its defensive capacity,” Hovhannisyan said. “We often carry out other forms of military movement the success and achievements of which are only announced post factum.”
Answering a question about the statement by the Iranian Defense Minister who warned Armenia and Azerbaijan that it will take stricter measures if bombs fall into Iranian territory, Hovhannisyan noted that the Ministry has seen the statement. Hovhannisyan went on to say that besides political statements, Iran is taking other measures as well.
Hovhannisyan noted that the Ministry continues receiving numerous calls from individuals offering material and financial support. He stressed that all those willing to support, should consider donating to All Armenia Hayastan Fund and Soldiers Insurance Fund.
10:40 p.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Defense Ministry reports that the capital Stepanakert and Shushi are being shelled.
Artsakh President Calls for the Formation of a New Anti-Terrorist Coalition
11 p.m.: Statement by Arayik Harutyunyan, President of Artsakh:
I call for the formation of a new anti-terrorist coalition.
Today, Artsakh and Armenia are on the frontline of the fight against international terrorism, in the truest sense of the word. However, the uniqueness of our case is that the enemy which threatens the existence of world civilization has come out against our homeland under the guise of a UN member state, as part of the formal army of that state and very often, in place of that formal army. In the modern world, when it is literally impossible to hide anything from anyone, everyone has seen and recorded the infiltration of a jihadist terrorist network into Azerbaijan. It is no longer a secret for any country in the world that the civilian population of Artsakh and Armenia, our cities and villages and our right to live freely and control our destiny are the target of that monstrous terrorist network.
Turkey, which continuously feeds and manages this network, with the consent of the opportunistic authorities in Baku, is today using Azerbaijan as a tool to create a new hotbed of global terrorism in the South Caucasus. I am convinced that every member responsible for global political life, be it a state or international organization, is clearly aware of the dangerous consequences of such developments. The consequences of the efforts of jihadists to establish a statelike unit in Iraq and Syria are still fresh in all of our memories.
All the countries of the world have a role to play in foiling Turkey’s plan to turn Azerbaijan into the terrorist den of the South Caucasus.
Armenia and Artsakh are today at the forefront of the struggle, because we have accepted the challenge thrown at us with dignity. And we will fight until victory is final. However, this is not only the problem of Artsakh and Armenia.
As the president of a state fighting for its independence, I call on the civilized world to take an active part in this struggle. The creation of an effective and efficient global anti-terrorist coalition is the imperative of the day.
I am confident victory will be ours.
UN Secretary-General Condemns Continuing Escalation of Violence in Nagorno-Karabakh
Secretary-General António Guterres “is gravely concerned by reports of the extension of hostilities, including the targeting of populated areas,” read a statement issued by his spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, on Monday. “He reminds all sides of their obligations to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure under international humanitarian law,” the statement added.
The Secretary-General also underlined that there is no military solution to the conflict and urged the sides to immediately cease all hostilities.
He appealed to all relevant regional and international actors to actively exercise their influence to achieve an urgent end to the fighting and return to negotiations under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
Also on Monday, at a regular press briefing, Mr. Dujarric provided a humanitarian update on Nagorno-Karabakh, noting that the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs remains deeply concerned about the ongoing hostilities along the line of contact in the conflict zone. “Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that the hostilities reportedly continue to cause the loss of civilian lives and injuries, as well as damage to civilian properties and infrastructure,” he said.
“From the beginning of the latest round of hostilities to today, more than 40 civilians have reportedly been killed and more than 200 others have been wounded on both sides. Hundreds of houses have been seriously damaged,” added the spokesperson.
Mr. Dujarric called on all sides to respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular by ensuring the protection of the civilian population and by preventing damage to essential civilian infrastructure.
“The UN country teams in both Yerevan and Baku stand ready to respond to humanitarian needs as they emerge. Neither government has requested international assistance from us,” he added.
Reports of Child Deaths: UNICEF
In a statement released by UNICEF, the agency noted that it was now 10 days since violence “escalated dramatically” in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. There are already reports of four children killed and seven injured, said the agency, noting that “without an end to the fighting, these figures will tragically increase. “The fighting is destroying homes, and damaging schools and other essential infrastructure. We urge all parties to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, from further harm, in line with international and humanitarian law.” UNICEF said that an immediate cessation of hostilities, was “in the best interest of every child.”
Foreign Ministry of Armenia Responds to Statement of Foreign Ministers of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair Countries
Yesterday, the Foreign Ministers of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries issued a statement on the hostilities taking place in Artsakh. The following response was issued by Armenia’s Foreign Ministry:
Armenia values the statement of the Foreign Ministries of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries, in which the unprecedented massive targeting of the civilian population and infrastructure in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone has been condemned in the strongest terms as an unacceptable threat to the stability of the region.
Armenia reiterates the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities, which the Foreign Ministry of Armenia has already underlined in its statement issued on October 2, 2020.
We once again stress that there is no alternative to the peaceful settlement and the peace process, and any attempt to resolve the conflict by military means will be resolutely averted.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Visits Baku
Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was in Baku, Azerbaijan on October 6 for a working visit. He met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov and discussed the recent escalation on the Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact.
During the meeting, Aliyev stated that Turkey’s “peace policy in the region and in the world” is already “yielding results in both the Middle East and the Caucasus.” He said today’s attack by Armenia once again shows that Turkey has a word both in the region and in the world. Cavusoglu said that for their part, the possibility of a ceasefire can be achieved only through the fulfilment of Azerbaijan’s demands. He criticized international efforts to tackle the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, saying they had achieved nothing in nearly 30 years. “We look at the calls coming from around the world, and it’s ‘immediate ceasefire’. What then? There was a ceasefire until now, but what happened?” The Turkish Foreign Minister said these efforts are useless since it’s not possible to treat Armenia and Azerbaijan as equals, that it would mean “rewarding the occupier.”
PACE Monitoring Committee Calls for an Immediate Ceasefire Without Preconditions
Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s (PACE) Monitoring Committee, Michael Aastrup Jensen (Denmark) issued the following press release:
“I am sad and angry about the tragic loss of lives, both civilian and military, caused by the new outbreak of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan. These hostilities are escalating rapidly into an all-out war which seriously threatens the stability of the region,” said the Chair of PACE’s Monitoring Committee, Michael Aastrup Jensen (Denmark, ALDE).
“At a meeting yesterday, the Monitoring Committee – which I chair – discussed these deeply worrying developments in the presence of Armenian and Azerbaijani parliamentarians, and urged both countries to fully honour their obligations to the Council of Europe and to respect the European Convention on Human Rights. It called on both states to agree on an immediate ceasefire without preconditions and to return to the negotiating table under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Conference. There is no alternative to a peaceful resolution of this conflict,” added Jensen.
“I again recall that when becoming members of the Council of Europe, both countries committed themselves to resolve their disputes in a peaceful manner. That obligation, which is incumbent upon all member States, also means that all member States should refrain from any actions or discourse which encourage belligerent states to resolve their disputes by force. In that respect the members of the committee deplored inflammatory rhetoric by Turkey, as well as reported direct involvement in the conflict, and called upon it to cease doing so immediately,” he concluded.
UK and Canada Issue Joint Statement
The UK and Canada have issued a joint statement calling for an end to the military clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and the Canadian Foreign Minister François-Phillippe Champagne said:
Canada and the United Kingdom reiterate the urgent need to end the continuing military action in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.
We are particularly concerned by reports of the shelling of civilian areas and wish to express our condolences to the families of those who have tragically lost their lives. The parties to the conflict must stop the violence and respect the ceasefire agreement.
We firmly support the statements made by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. We urge all external parties and friends of both states to redouble their efforts in support of an end to hostilities and to refrain from taking actions that risk exacerbating the crisis.
A comprehensive resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is overdue. That can only be delivered through a negotiated settlement and not through military action. All parties must urgently return to the negotiating table to work toward this aim without preconditions.
PM Nikol Pashinyan Has Telephone Conversation With Vladimir Putin
Armenia’s Prime Minister held a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The leaders discussed the latest developments in military actions. They noted that the aggravated armed confrontation in the conflict zone has acquired a large-scale character and could lead to serious losses, including among the civilian population. Putin reiterated the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
Joint Statement Calling for a Ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh
The following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, the Russian Federation and the Republic of France.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Secretary of State of the United States of America Michael R. Pompeo, representing the Co-Chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, condemn in the strongest terms the unprecedented and dangerous escalation of violence in and outside of the Nagorno-Karabakh zone.
The Ministers stress unconditionally that recent attacks allegedly targeting civilian centers – both along the Line of Contact and on the territories of Azerbaijan and Armenia outside the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone – and the disproportionate nature of such attacks constitute an unacceptable threat to the stability of the region.
Recalling the October 1 statement of the Heads of State of the three Co-Chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, the Ministers call once again upon the conflicting parties to accept an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. The Co-Chairing countries are determined to exercise fully their mandate, entrusted to them by the OSCE and the international community, with the contribution of the Minsk Group capitals. As such, they will firmly continue to advance their engagement with the sides, and urge them to commit now to resuming the settlement process on the basis of existing core principles and relevant international documents well-known by both parties.
Canada Suspends Export Permits to Turkey
The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs today issued the following statement:
“Over the last several days, certain allegations have been made regarding Canadian technology being used in the military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Upon learning of these allegations, I immediately directed Global Affairs Canada to investigate these claims.
“In line with Canada’s robust export control regime and due to the ongoing hostilities, I have suspended the relevant export permits to Turkey, so as to allow time to further assess the situation.
“Canada continues to be concerned by the ongoing conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh resulting in shelling of communities and civilian casualties.
“We call for measures to be taken immediately to stabilize the situation on the ground and reiterate that there is no alternative to a peaceful, negotiated solution to this conflict.”
Response From Amnesty International
The following is a press release issued by Amnesty International:
Protection of civilians caught in the escalating conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region must be prioritized, Amnesty International said, after corroborating the use of banned cluster bombs in the region.
Over the weekend, footage consistent with the use of cluster munitions in the city of Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, was published by the region’s de facto authorities. They also reported an unidentified number of civilian casualties after further shelling in Stepanakert and the town of Shushi. Amnesty International’s Crisis Response experts were able to trace the location of the footage to residential areas of Stepanakert, and identified Israeli-made M095 DPICM cluster munitions that appear to have been fired by Azerbaijani forces.
“The use of cluster bombs in any circumstances is banned under international humanitarian law, so their use to attack civilian areas is particularly dangerous and will only lead to further deaths and injuries,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s acting Head of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.“Cluster bombs are inherently indiscriminate weapons, and their deployment in residential areas is absolutely appalling and unacceptable. As fighting continues to escalate, civilians must be protected, not deliberately targeted or recklessly endangered.”
Amnesty International has called on all sides to the conflict to fully respect international humanitarian law, and to protect civilians from the effects of hostilities.
On 27 September, heavy fighting erupted between Azerbaijan and Armenia and Armenian-supported forces in Azerbaijan’s break-away region of Nagorno-Karabakh. In recent days, both sides involved in the conflict have exchanged artillery and rocket fire.
Azerbaijan reported that the Armenian forces attacked civilian areas in the country’s second largest city of Ganja, as well as other towns. While Amnesty International experts have verified that 300mm Smerch rocket artillery systems do appear to have been used by Armenian forces, the photographic and video evidence available from the Azerbaijani side does not yet allow for conclusive analysis of its specific targets, nor whether the rocket warheads contained cluster munitions.
Cluster bombs are inherently indiscriminate weapons that inflict suffering for civilian populations years after their use, and are internationally banned by a treaty backed by more than 100 states. Amnesty International is calling on both Armenia and Azerbaijan to become parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Cluster munitions scatter hundreds of bomblets, or submunitions, over a wide area. It is estimated that between 5 and 20 percent of cluster bomblets fail to explode. They are then left behind, posing a threat to civilians similar to that of anti-personnel landmines.
The use of these bombs violates the prohibition of indiscriminate attack because of the wide area covered by the numerous bomblets released, and the danger posed to all who come into contact with the unexploded munitions.
Artsakh Foreign Ministry: Stop Supplying Weapons to Azerbaijan
Artsakh’s Foreign Ministry released the following statement today calling on foreign governments to stop supplying weapons to Azerbaijan and its political-military ally Turkey.
“Continuing with its unsuccessful attempts to achieve military goals and suffering serious losses of manpower and military equipment, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, under the direct control of Turkey, continue to attack the civilian population and civilian infrastructure of the Artsakh Republic with increasing intensity. Stepanakert, Shushi, Martakert, Martuni, Hadrut and other residences of the republic are under massive rocket attack.
“The relentless attacks on civilians and civilian facilities leave no doubt that the real goal of the aggressive war unleashed by Turkey and Azerbaijan, with the support of militants from Middle East terrorist organizations, is the annihilation of the people of the Artsakh Republic as a continuation of the Armenian Genocide.
“We emphasize that the countries that provide military assistance to the criminal troika, those that provide offensive weapons and ammunition for targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, are undoubtedly responsible for continuing crimes against humanity. It is an shocking fact that the supply of weapons is taking place in the context of expanding military aggression, when the whole civilized world condemns the use of force and calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
“We call on the governments of the respective countries to stop feeding the aggression being nurtured against Artsakh by international terrorism, to stop supplying weapons to the criminal tripartite alliance, as well as not to provide their territory and airspace for military supplies to Azerbaijan and Turkey.
“We once again call on the international community to recognize the independence of the Artsakh Republic, which will eliminate the existential threat to the people of Artsakh, end the inhuman aggression against Artsakh, and restore lasting peace and stability in the South Caucasus.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Meets With NATO Secretary General
Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish Foreign Minister met with the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Ankara. During the joint press conference, Stoltenberg said NATO is concerned about the continued violence in and around Nagorno Karabakh. “We are deeply concerned about the escalation of hostilities. All sides should immediately cease fighting and find a way forwards towards a peaceful resolution. And I expect Turkey to use its considerable influence to calm tensions,” said Stoltenberg.