26 Sep Artsakh Forces Cause Heavy Damage to Azerbaijani Military
- 2 Civilian deaths and 100 casualties reported
- Armenia and Artsakh declare martial law
- Pashinyan Urges International Community to Stop Turkey’s Intervention
- Pashinyan Says Recognition of Artsakh’s Independence “Is on the Table”
- OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmen Call for End to Military Attacks
Artsakh officials announced, citing preliminary information, that 16 people had died and more than a 100 were injured during Azerbaijan’s attack on Sunday on Artsakh, that included aerial bombing of civilian targets, including Stepanakert, Sushi, Askeran and Martakert.
Artsakh and Armenia defense ministries confirmed that Armenian forces fighting on the frontlines have destroyed several Azerbaijani tanks, drones and heavy military equipment, but said that skirmishes are now focused on the northeastern border of Artsakh and Azerbaijan.
In an address to the nation, as well as a remakes made at a special session of parliament, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Azerbaijan’s latest military aggression is a “war declared against the Armenian people. It is a war against our independence, freedom and dignity,” adding that the “Armenian people are ready for that war.”
He told parliament that all options were being taken into consideration, including Armenia’s official recognition of Artsakh.
“The Armenian people are ready to strike a worthy blow at the enemy. The Republic of Armenia is the guarantor of the security and independence of the Artsakh Republic. And the Republic of Armenia today stands behind Artsakh with all the potential of its population and state system. We will make every possible and impossible effort to keep the borders of our homeland inviolable, to protect our freedom and independence,” added Pashinyan.
“The dictatorial authorities of Azerbaijan must understand that it is impossible to bring the Armenian people to their knees. We have had many crucial moments and overcome many difficulties in our millennial history. Our case is fair and this criminal encroachment will also receive a worthy counterattack,” said Pashinyan.
The prime minister said that his government was calling on the OSCE Minsk Group states and the international community to condemn Azerbaijan’s military aggression, as well as to urge Turkey to refrain from any intervention in the latest fighting.
“I call on the international community to use all its levers of influence to refrain from any possible interference by Turkey, which will ultimately destabilize the situation in the region. Turkey’s aggressive behavior, which was especially dangerous during the events of July and continues today, is a matter of serious concern. Maintaining such a dangerous stance by Turkey has the most devastating consequences for the South Caucasus and the surrounding regions. The international community must work together to prevent the dangerous development of events and to refrain from any attempts to destabilize the region,” said Pashinyan.
The Armenian National Committee of America issued an urgent action alert, https://marchtojustice.org/condemn-azerbaijan/issue-form?fbclid=IwAR320s8nIfNmuCpc8v1wrIlE-SLckWJED6J9jz4AJ9DIeokhol5hTpvJNPU calling on community members to contact their senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives and urge them to strongly condemn Azerbaijan’s latest military attack against Armenian targets.
Defense Ministry officials reported that Armenian forces continue to damage Azerbaijan’s military capabilities, reporting more downed Azerbaijani drones and destruction of tanks and heavy equipment.
Azerbaijani forces on Sunday morning launched airstrikes against civilian targets in Artsakh, including Stepanakert beginning Sunday morning local time.
Artsakh presidential spokesperson confirmed that in the early morning hours of Sunday artillery attacks were launched along the entire border separating Artsakh and Azerbaijan.
“Peaceful settlements are also being bombarded, including the capital city of Stepanakert. We advise the population to seek shelter. At the same time, we announce that our response will be proportionate and the entire responsibility of the situation falls on Azerbaijan’s military-political leadership and personally Ilham Aliyev,” said Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan’s spokesperson Vahram Poghosyan.
“At this moment there are dozens of wounded among the civilian population. The enemy mostly hit with artillery and at civilian settlements. Regrettably we also have two deaths, a woman and a child,” Poghosyan said.
Harutyunyan declared martial law and universal mobilization.
“I declared martial law and universal mobilization of people aged above 18. We have numerously said that we oppose war but we are ready for war. No one loves and favors peace as much as we do. We did not want war, this war was forced upon us, and we are obliged to defend our country and families. The entire responsibility for the escalation falls on Azerbaijani’s military-political government. Personally President Aliyev of Azerbaijan will be accountable for the potential humanitarian disaster in the region,” Harutyunyan said.
Armenia’s Defense Ministry on Sunday released video of Artsakh defense army destroying Azerbaijani tanks and heavy artillery.
According to the Artsakh Defense Ministry, Azerbaijan has lost 14 drones, 2 helicopters, and an unspecified number of armored equipment amid attack on Artsakh.
“The enemy is launching attacks in different parts of the frontline using air force, UAVs, armored equipment and artillery. The vanguard units of the Defense Army are successfully repelling all enemy attacks. According to updated information the Azerbaijani military has lost two helicopters, 14 UAVs, and it also has loses of armored equipment. The battles continue,” the Artsakh defense ministry said.
The swift coverage of the attacks by the Turkish and Azerbaijani media signal that this latest attack was pre-meditated, Armenia’s Defense Ministry Spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan said Sunday.
“Anyone having an elementary knowledge about the military will state that it takes weeks to plan a counterattack operation. Minutes after the official reports on the escalation the Azerbaijani and Turkish news media are reporting from the frontline, which also shows that Azerbaijan’s provocation was pre-planned,” said Stepanyan.
“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,” said the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmen in a statement issued on Sunday.
“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,” added the co-chairs.
Artsakh Human Rights Defender, Artak Beglarian, confirmed that and woman and her child are among the civilian fatalities during Sunday’s attack.
“According to updated data, Azerbaijan has hit all large and many small settlements (including Stepanakert, Askeran, Martakert, Martuni, Hadrut, Shushi cities),” said Beglarian’s office in a statement.
The Human Rights Defender’s office said that based on preliminary reports, two civilians had died and dozens of were injured.
“There are more than 10 injured in Stepanakert alone, including children and women. Defender representatives visited a group of injured people recovered at Stepanakert Republican Medical Center,” said the Beglaryan’s office.
“The analysis of collected data shows that the Azerbaijani armed forces targeted civilian population… which is a blatant violation of international law. The Defender urges the international community to assess Azerbaijan’s actions,” said Beglaryan’s office.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan vowed to respond to Azerbaijan’s egregious breach of the ceasefire and has called an emergency session of the National Security Council.
“Nothing, nothing, not a single thing will make us take a step back from the path of defending the Artsakh people’s freedom and rights. Long live the Republic of Artsakh. Long live the heroic people of Artsakh. Glory to the Armenian army,” Pashinyan said in social media post.
The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling for an immediate ceasefire at the Artsakh-Azerbaijan line of contact.
“According to existing information the situation at the Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone abruptly escalated. Intensive fire is taking place from both sides at the entire length of the line of contact. Reports on casualties are coming in. We call on the sides to immediately stop the fire and start negotiations to stabilize the situation,” the Russian foreign ministry said.
This is a developing story.