Armenia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan was in Moscow today to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to discuss the situation in Artsakh. Following a closed-door meeting, the two Foreign Ministers held a joint press conference.
Lavrov noted that Russia has done everything possible both as an OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair, as well as through bilateral approaches with Armenia and Azerbaijan, to de-escalate the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone and bring the parties back to the negotiation table. He expressed hope that both Armenia and Azerbaijan will strictly adhere to the ceasefire agreement reached in Moscow.
Mnatsakanyan said that the current situation clearly illustrates the existential threat that the people of Artsakh have been facing for the past 30 years. He said this threat has intensified because Turkey is now directly involved in the conflict and is transferring foreign mercenaries and terrorists to the region from Syria and Libya. The terrorists are being used to fulfil the interests of the current Turkish authorities and expand their influence in the nearby region, he noted adding that by getting support from Turkish mercenaries, Azerbaijan has become a conduit for the expansion of Turkey’s influence and the spread of international terriorism into the region. Mnatsakanyan said Armenia was and will continue to be firmly committed to the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
In the meantime, there were large-scale military operations along the southern direction of the frontline where Azerbaijani forces had amassed a large number of forces, trying to infiltrate Hadrut. During a late night press briefing, Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that Azerbaijani Air Forces under the cover of Turkish Air Forces and with the support of Turkish intelligence, used combat drones and realized 36 combat flights throughout the day.
Here is a chronology of official updates.
Stepanakert: October 12
EVN Report's Roubina Margossian is in Stepanakert, the capital of Artsakh that has come under bombardment from Azerbaijani forces for the past two weeks.
8:30 a.m.: Defense Ministry Spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan wrote that overnight the situation in the Artsakh-Azerbaijani conflict zone was relatively tense but stable. Currently, Azerbaijani forces are intensively shelling the southern front.
Large-Scale Military Operations Continue in Hadrut
10:47 a.m.: Vahram Poghosyan, the spokesperson of the President of Artsakh, said that large-scale military operations continue in Hadrut. The Azerbaijani side has amassed a large number of forces and is trying to infiltrate the city. The Artsakh Defense Army is waging heavy battles for every inch of soil.
Armenian Forces Engaged in Heavy Fighting Against Turkish and Azerbaijani Forces Several Times Large in Number
11:23 a.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Ministry of Defense wrote the following on his Facebook page: “There is an intense battle ongoing, the Armenian army is engaged in heavy fighting against Turkish and Azerbaijani forces that are several times larger in number, supported fully by the Turkish Air Force, reconnaissance squads and other systems, a large number of mercenaries, terrorists and private military companies. The Armenian Army is successfully resisting this larger adversary, even drawing the attention of international commentators. Based on tactical and operational needs, the Artsakh Defense Army is carrying out retreats and new delineations while also staging attacks and counter-attacks.”
11:26 p.m.: Vahram Poghosyan, the spokesperson of the President of Artsakh announced that Azerbaijani frontline units have again launched offensive military operations along different sections of the frontline. He said that the Artsakh Defense Army is taking adequate measures to suppress the adversary.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan Holds Meeting With Extra-Parliamentary Political Parties
1:05 p.m.: Prime Minister Nikol Pashiyan invited extra-parliamentary political parties to a meeting to discuss Artsakh.
Invitees included Eduard Sharmazanov from the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), Ishkhan Saghatelyan from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), Levon Zurabyan from the Armenian National Congress (ANC), Arman Babajanyan, the MP who recently founded the For the Republic Party, Aram Sargsyan from the Republic Party and Suren Sahakyan from the Citizen’s Decision Social Democratic Party.
Yesterday, on October 11, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, together with Minister of Foreign Affairs Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, had held a meeting in the National Assembly with the representatives of the three parliamentary party caucuses and the chairs of the parliamentary standing committees. The meeting discussed foreign policy in the context of the ongoing Artsakh War, including steps taken through parliamentary platforms.
Artsakh President: Situation Continues to Remain Dire
2 p.m.: Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan issued the following statement:
The situation continues to remain dire. I have been actively meeting our civilian militia. We must all stand together as one. The defense of our Homeland is at stake. Veterans from the first Artsakh War have already rejoined our ranks for this battle. I am grateful for the readiness our people have shown to defend our homeland together.
1 p.m.: Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Armenia’s Foreign Affairs Minister had a meeting today with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. Lavrov noted that, although the Russian-brokered agreement for a humanitarian ceasefire was reached between official Baku and Yerevan on October 10, military operations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone continue. He expressed hope that it will be possible to maintain the ceasefire agreement due to ongoing communication with the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides.
Mnatsakanyan noted that the Armenians of Artsakh are facing an existential threat, which has been the case for the past thirty years. He said that the Armenian side values the contribution of the Russian President and Foreign Affairs Minister in initiating and coordinating the ceasefire agreement. Mnatsakanyan stressed that ending the military operations is imperative and that Russia’s role in the process remains critical. The Minister noted that Azerbaijan continues to violate the ceasefire agreement and target civilian settlements.
The Ministers will hold a joint press conference at 2 p.m.
3:15 p.m.: Armenian Defense Ministry Spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan announced that, under the air cover of Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jets, the Azerbaijani side is using Su-25 jets along the entire Line of Contact. The anti-aircraft units of the Artsakh Defense Army have shot down a Su-25 jet in the northeastern direction.
Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Russia Hold Joint Press Conference
4:30 p.m.: During a joint press conference in Moscow, Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov noted that the meeting with his Armenian counterpart had been planned following his visit to Yerevan and that they discussed a wide range of bilateral issues. Lavrov noted that, since the beginning of the escalation, the Russian side has done everything possible both as an OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair, as well as through bilateral approaches with Armenia and Azerbaijan, to de-escalate the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone and bring the parties back to the negotiation table. Lavrov expressed hope that both Armenia and Azerbaijan will strictly adhere to the ceasefire agreement reached in Moscow. He went on to say that, during the discussion with Mnatsakanyan, they discussed the steps moving forward, including a meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
Armenia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Zohrab Mnatsanaknyan stressed that the Armenian side highly appreciates the efforts of the Russian side to mediate a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and specifically facilitating the agreement on a humanitarian ceasefire reached on October 10. Mnatsakanyan talked about the relations between Armenia and Russia in different spheres but, given the current situation in Armenia, the Minister mainly concentrated on the recent developments in Nagorno-Karabakh which pose a real threat to the security of the entire region. He noted that the situation people in Artsakh are facing today is an existential threat, which has grown during the past few decades. Starting on September 27, the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan unleashed a large-scale aggression against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, openly demonstrating its true goals to resolve the problem through military means and exterminate the people of Artsakh. Mnatsakanyan noted that the Azerbaijani side does not differentiate between military subjects and peaceful civilians. During the aggression, Azerbaijani Armed Forces attacked more than 120 civilian settlements, including the major cities of Stepanakert, Shushi, Hadrut, Martakert and Martuni. The lack of military objects in the surroundings of the targeted civilian settlements shows that Azerbaijan’s actions are intentional and equate to war crimes. As a result of indiscriminate attacks by the Azerbaijani Air Force, which they carry out with the support of the Turkish Air Force and the use of UAVs, heavy artillery, rocket and tank subdivisions, many civilians have been killed.
Many civilians were killed and wounded because of the use of cluster munitions by the Azerbaijani side. As of October 10, as a result of Azerbaijan’s actions and those cooperating with them, 23 civilians have been killed and more than 100 wounded (81 sustained serious injuries). Following the Azerbaijani aggression, the number of people who were forced to leave their homes has grown. Most of them have found refuge in other settlements of Nagorno-Karabakh while the rest crossed into Armenia. Mnatsakanyan noted that more than 960 civilian objects including communication and electricity networks, water supply systems, bridges, schools, kindergartens, cultural centers and factories, as well as over 6,000 private properties including homes, buildings and shops, were completely destroyed or damaged. Twenty-five important energy assets were destroyed, much of the electricity grid has been damaged, more than 10 generators were seriously damaged or destroyed.
Historical, cultural and religious objects have also been targeted. On October 8, the Azerbaijani Air Force conducted two attacks on the Ghazanchetsots cathedral, an important cultural-religious symbol of Artsakh in Shushi. As a result of the attack, peaceful civilians, including local and international journalists were wounded. Mnatsakanyan noted that a representative of the Russian press was seriously injured during the second bombing of the church. He went on to say that the evidence he presented shows the existential threat that the people of Artsakh have been facing for the past 30 years. This threat has intensified due to two new negative factors. One is that Turkey is directly involved in this conflict and transfers foreign mercenaries and terrorists to the region from Syria and Libya. The terrorists are being used to fulfil the interests of the current Turkish authorities and expand their influence in the nearby region. The transportation of mercenaries from Syria and Libya to Azerbaijan by Turkish authorities has not only been proven by our sources but also by the international community. Mnatsakanyan noted that, by getting support from Turkish mercenaries, Azerbaijan itself became a platform for the expansion of Turkey’s influence and the spread of international terriorism into the region.
Mnatsakanyan stressed that it is necessary to stop the military operations and that the role of Russia at this stage is highly important. He emphasized the importance of the joint agreement reached two days ago and once again thanked Russia for its active mediation to stop military operations and reach a ceasefire. “Unfortunately, as of now, we cannot say that we have a substantive result regarding the truce since Azerbaijan is not fulfilling its obligations under the ceasefire. I want to stress the importance of verification mechanisms, which will allow us to supervise the preservation of a ceasefire. Only after a ceasefire has been restored can we effectively go further regarding all questions. Armenia was and will continue to be firmly committed to the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through negotiations and we will stick to this throughout all our initiatives. As Mr. Lavrov mentioned, I will have meetings with my counterparts and co-chairs and we will continue discussions about this issue,” he said.
Mnatsakanyan stressed that Armenia is the only guarantor of Artaskah’s security and that it will continue to take all necessary measures to guarantee the rights of the people of Artsakh, rid the region from terrorists and from their negative influence.
Names of 96 Armenian Servicemen Killed in Action Released by Defense Ministry of Artsakh
6 p.m.: The Artsakh Defense Ministry released the names of another 51 servicemen who were killed on the battlefield.
Brsoyan, Gagik [Sedraki], b. 2002
Ovseyan, Rafayel [Armani], b. 2001
Grigoryan, Hovhannes [Karleni], b. 1995
Hovsepyan, Kamo [Shaheni], b. 1976 (reserve)
Petrosyan Habet [Vrezhi], b. 1965 (volunteer)
Buduryan, Vahagn [Nahapeti], b. 1996 (volunteer)
Sargsyan Alexander [Hamleti], b. 1988 (volunteer)
Matevosyan, Lernik [Martiki], b. 1967 (volunteer)
Poghosyan, Sargis [Garegini], b. 1982
Melkonyan, Serob [Meliki], b. 1969
Ghazaryan, Arman [Vardani], b. 1981
Harutyunyan, Mher [Volodyayi], b. 1973
Ginosyan, Vachagan [Anushavani], b. 1985
Virabyan, Seryozha [Smbati], b. 1995
Grigoryan, Vazgen [Hmayaki], b. 1976
Otaryan, Tatul [Meruzhani], b. 1986
Salanyan, Bagrat [Rubeni], b. 1982
Arshakyan, Zohrab [Samveli], b. 1990
Khachatryan, Artyom [Karapeti], b. 1994
Gasparyan, Samvel [Sahaki], b. 1994
Badoyan, Nver [Artashi], 1972
Petrosyan, Artyom [Arami], b. 1996
Jalavyan, Davit [Khoreni], b. 1999
Khechumyan, Artak [Noriki], b. 1982
Mikoyan, Tigran [Arseni], b.1997
Avetisyan, Elfik [Mkrtichi], b. 2000
Sargsyan, Narek [Anastasi], b. 1991
Dilanyan, Gagik [Edvardi], b. 2000
Tadevosyan, Vahan [Suriki], b. 1987
Sosyan, Suren [Seyrani], b. 2001
Harutyunyan, Harutyun [Gevorgi], b. 1998
Atayan, Vladislav [Georgii], b. 1980
Avetisyan, Vlad [Arayiki], b. 1995
Babayan, Hovik [Vilyati], b. 1980
Davtyan, Slava [Rashidi], b. 1976
Harutyunyan, Tatul [Vigeni], b. 1987
Adamyan, Eduard [Eduardi], b. 1995
Babayan, Hayk [Vilyati], b.1975 (reserve)
Osipov, Aren [Hmayaki], b. 1984 (reserve)
Aleksanyan, Karen [Vagifi], b. 1980 (reserve)
Israyelyan, Karen [Sureni], b. 1980 (reserve)
Avagyan, Khachatur [Avanesi], b. 1980
Sargsyan, Vilen [Hamleti], b. 1990
Abrahamyan, Hayk [Borisi], b. 1988
Harutyunyan, Garik [Yuriki], b. 1977
Mehrabyan, Davit [Samveli], b. 2001
Gevorgyan, Tigran [Hrachiki], b. 2000
Aghekyan, Armen [Geghayri], b. 2000
Chghrikyan, Grigor [Andraniki], b. 2001
Sadoyan, Abraham [Gevorgi], b. 2002
Grigoryan, Davit [Sevaki], b. 1994
8:30 p.m.: The Ministry of Defense of Artsakh released the names of another 45 servicemen killed in battle, bringing the total number of killed to 96 today alone.
Gevorgyan, Shaliko [Volodyayi], b. 1995
Azizyan, Artashes [Yeghishi], b. 1980
Abroyan, Arsen [Rubiki], b. 2000
Ayvazyan, Rafik [Hamleti], b. 2001
Torosyan, Arzuman [Yegori], b. 2001
Solkaryan, Arsen [Artaki], b. 2000
Kirakosyan, Arayik [Ediki], b. 1991
Babajanyan, Gevorg [Arturi], b. 1996
Galstyan, Martin [Vazgeni], b. 1991
Sargsyan, Narek [Jivani], b. 1993
Safyan, Gegham [Serzhiki], b. 1984
Mayilyan, Rubik [Hovhannesi], b. 1969
Safyan, Arayik [Hovhannesi], b. 1989
Poghosyan, Vrezhik [Seyrani], b. 1992
Hovhannisyan, Davit [Arayi], b. 1995
Amaryan, Samson [Rachiki], b. 1988
Arabahcyan, Gevorg [Aghasii], b. 2001
Poghosyan, Aram [Arturi], b. 1997
Martirosyan, Narek [Shirazi], b. 1993
Khachatryan, Marat [Vladiki], b. 1979 (reserve)
Gabrielyan, Gor [Armenaki], b. 2002
Chichyan, Eduard [Armani], b. 2001
Navoyan, Shant [Gurgeni], b. 2001
Galstyan, Shahen [Harutyuni], b. 2001
Grigoryan, Ishkhan [Arturi], b. 2002
Hovhannisyan, Narek [Hayki], b. 2001
Karyan, Gevorg [Grigori], b. 2001
Khachatryan, Narek [Arturi], b. 2001
Grigoryan, Razmik [Telmani], b. 1998
Gharibyan, Karen [Rudiki], b. 1982 (reserve)
Manucharyan, Harutyun [Vaniki], b, 1988
Badalyan, Davit [Vahani], b. 1987
Danielyan, Aram [Vardani], b. 2001
Tandilyan, Razmik [Kareni], b. 2001
Arakelyan, Artur [Aramayisi], b. 2000
Grigoryan, Elfik [Gagiki], b. 2001
Hakobyan, Hakob [Khachaturi], b. 2001
Manukyan, Pavel [Harutyuni], b. 2001
Barseghyan, Zarzand [Hovhannesi], b. 1982
Hovhannisyan, Vahram [Vachagani], b. 1983
Manukyan, Gevorg [Manveli], b. 1995
Amirjanyan, Armen [Zaveni], b. 1991
Aslanyan, Ishkhan [Rafiki], b. 1988
Safaryan, Misak [Hakobi], b. 1978
Hakobyan, Hayk [Ararati], b. 1990
Artsrun Hovhannisyan, Defense Ministry Press Briefing
10 p.m.: During a live press briefing, Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that Azerbaijani Armed Forces resumed military operations early this morning in 3-4 directions. “Azerbaijan did not and does not plan to fulfill the conditions of the Russian-brokered October 10 humanitarian ceasefire. So, all of the announcements that they have committed to the ceasefire were complete lies,” Hovhannisyan said, adding that for some reason Azerbaijan is trying to destabilize the situation and launch military operations. He went on to say that heavy artillery was used against Martakert. Also, Azerbaijani Air Forces under the cover of Turkish Air Forces and with the support of Turkish intelligence, used combat drones and realized 36 combat flights throughout the day. Armenian Air Defense Units managed to destroy one Su-25 fighter jet in the northern direction. Military operations also continued in the southern direction and again heavy artillery and armored vehicles were used. Armenian Armed Forces managed to push back the diversion attempt of the adversary in the direction of Hadrut. Hovhannisyan stressed that the city of Hadrut remains under the control of the Armenian Armed Forces. He explained that at night military operations are not as intense as during the day, primarily because the adversary is rearranging, reorganizing its forces and resources in order to resume large-scale offensives from early morning.
Answering reporters questions, Artsrun Hovhannisyan noted that exchange of POWs and bodies can only happen with the guarantee of relevant international organizations who can enter the area of military operations. He noted that it is not possible since the Azerbaijani side does not want to comply with these conditions.
Hovhannisyan went on to say that special reconnaissance groups tried to enter Hadrut but currently the city is under the control of the Armenian side. He did say that Azerbaijani reconnaissance units are on the outskirts of the city.
Hovhannisyan denied the statement that Talish is under the control of the Azerbaijani side and noted that Azerbaijani forces are on the outskirts and that they might have video footage that makes it appear as though the city is under their control. He urged the public not to derive conclusions from those videos of different settlements and military positions. Speaking about Karvajar, Hovhannisyan said that there are ongoing military operations but the situation there is relatively calm compared to other areas.
Armenia’s Health Minister Open Letter to World Health Organization
Arsen Torosyan’s open letter to to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,
Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters, Geneva:
Dear Dr. Ghebreyesus,
I am writing to express my grave concern regarding the military attack of Azerbaijan against the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).
Today, when the whole world is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, when the international community is mobilizing its efforts to mitigate socio-economic consequences of the pandemic, and when all the leaders, including the UN Secretary-General, are calling for a global ceasefire, the Azerbaijani armed forces, launched large-scale airborne, missile and land attack along the entire line of contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, targeting civilian settlements, infrastructure, and schools, including in the capital city of Stepanakert resulting in numerous civilian casualties and destruction. The aggression of Azerbaijan is happening in the midst of the global health crisis which is severely hampering the national, regional and global Covid19 response efforts and facilitating the spread of the virus.
The military attack unleashed by Azerbaijan against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and perpetrated with the direct involvement of Turkey and the Turkish-backed foreign terrorist fighters have led to the most intense and destructive escalation in the region since the 1990s. This genocidal Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance brings more destruction and devastation while the COVID-19 pandemic keeps spreading.
Despite the constant shelling of civilian objects, including humanitarian and environmental ones, our medical personnel perform their duty, fighting for the lives of the wounded, including foreign journalists, severely injured as a result of deliberate attacks of the Azerbaijani armed forces. Unfortunately, several medical workers lost their lives while conducting their duty. Even on October 11, when a ceasefire was already declared, Azerbaijan targeted an ambulance transporting the wounded.
Currently, we are witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe in the Republic of Artsakh, when civilians are deprived of essential medical services and are horrified by bombings and rocket strikes. The entire peaceful population, including children and the elderly, is under permanent danger to lose their lives and health.
We urge the World Health Organization which is a leading organization involved in the global coordination for mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic to take appropriate measures to stop the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the military aggression of Azerbaijan and aggravated by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If this massive military aggression by Azerbaijan continues to target the civilian population and infrastructure in Nagorno-Karabakh, the international public health community’s ability to protect the most vulnerable people from the virus will be severely compromised.
Minister of Health, Armenia