artsakh october 8


Stepanakert Continues to Be Shelled

8:30 a.m.: According to the Armenian Unified Infocenter, Stepanakert was shelled the entire night by enemy fire.
9:20 a.m.: The MoD spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan reports that the night at the Artsakh-Azerbaijani conflict zone has been stable and tense. Stepanyan said the adversary attempted an incursion at around 8:30 a.m from the southern direction but after losing three units of military hardware and more than 20 soldiers retreated through the outskirts of Jabrayil.  


Artsakh Defense Ministry Releases Names of 30 Servicemen Killed in Action

11:40 a.m.: The Artsakh Defense Ministry released the names of 30 servicemen killed in action.

Sanosyan, Artyom [Sargisi], b. 2001

Gharibyan, Vazgen [Vigeni], b. 2002

Sargsyan, Abraham [Ashoti], b. 2001

Margaryan, Serzhik [Artaki], b. 2000

Khemchyan, Artak [Noriki], b. 1982

Sargsyan, Edgar [Roberti], b. 1988

Hayrapetyan, Alexander [Samveli], b. 1991

Mitichyan, Gor [Samveli], b. 1991

Mkrtchyan, Martun [Mkrtchi], b. 1982

Simonyan, Myasnik [Karapeti], b. 1984

Petrosyan, Alik [Ishkhani], b.1982
Aghajanyan, Sargis [Henriki], b. 1978
Hambaryan, Levon [Khoreni], b. 1992

Mkrtchyan, Sergey [Harutyuni], b. 1991

Sargsyan, Hovhannes [Vardgesi], b. 1990

Sahakyan, Khachik [Hovhannesi], b. 2001

Ayvazyan, Sarmen [Samveli], b. 2001

Gasparyan, Karen [Vrami], b. 2001

Alaverdyan, Arman [Arturi], b. 2001

Osipyan, Davit [Vladimiri], b. 2002

Hakobyan, Artur [Daviti], b.1983

Abrahamyan, Nairi [Arayiki], b. 1998

Muradyan, Arsen [Vaniki], b. 2001

Babayan, Davit [Alberti], b. 1998

Sahradyan, Suren [Hayki], b. 1994

Karapetyan, Edo [Armeni],b. 1964

Sirekanyan, Gagik [Vahani], b. 1959

Grigoryan, Gagik [Fridoni], b. 1961

Sargsyan, Hamlet [Ruzvelti], b. 1973

Mnoyan, Mushegh [Lavrenti], b. 1966


Ghazanchetsots Church in Shushi Damaged by Azerbaijani Strike, Journalists Injured in a Second Attack

1:50 p.m.: According to the Armenian Unified Infocenter, Azerbaijan forces have hit the iconic Holy Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi, Artsakh, which was rebuilt after the first Karabakh War. Later, Armenia’s Ombudsman’s Arman Tatoyan wrote on his Facebook page that Ghazanchetsots, which is the symbol of Shushi, is located in the center of the city and only children and women were in the Cathedral‘s basement at the moment of the strikes. “There are no military objects and nothing close to the military around the Cathedral. Residential houses were also damaged...Clear signs of war crimes and use of terrorist actions,” Tatoyan wrote.

At 6 p.m. Artsakh’s Human Rights Defender Artak Beglaryan tweeted that there was a second strike on Ghazanchetsots. At the time, there were journalists inside the church filming. According to media reports, three journalists were wounded, one of them, a Russian journalist seriously who required emergency surgery. . The Armenian Unified Infocenter has confirmed that one of the wounded is a Russian journalist.  


MoD Spokesperson: Azerbaijani Forces Continue to Launch Unsuccessful Attacks

3:07 p.m.: Ministry of Defense spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan announced that Azerbaijani forces continue to launch unsuccessful attacks. At approximately 2 p.m. Azerbaijan forces initiated attacks in two directions along the southern part of the Line of Contact, both of which were repelled by Defence Army divisions. Stepanyan said that the adversary suffered heavy human losses and nine of its armoured vehicles were destroyed. 

PM Nikol Pashinyan Has Telephone Conversation With Austrian Chancellor

5 p.m.: Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had a telephone conversation with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz today. Following their conversation, Chancellor Kurts in an official tweet wrote: “Very concerned about ongoing escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh. There is no military solution for this conflict. Austria calls for an end of hostilities and supports negotiations under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. I expressed my hope for a peaceful solution in a call with Armenian PM NikoPashiyan today and reiterated our offer to host another round of talks between the two parties. Austria has always been a place for dialogue and we will continue to promote de-escalation and direct talks.” 


CSTO Could Intervene in Conflict if Armenia’s Sovereignty Threatened

5:30 p.m.: Stanislav Zas, head of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) said that the military alliance of which Armenia is a member, could intervene in the “Nagorno-Karabakh conflict if Armenia's sovereignty were threatened.” Zas also said that CSTo did not “welcome actions by Turkey and other countries in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia apart from ones aimed at fostering peace.”

The Collective Security Treaty Organization is a Russia-led military alliance of seven former Soviet states that was created in 2002. The CSTO’s purpose is to ensure the collective defence of any member that faces external aggression.


Armenia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry Statement on the Targeting of Places of Religious Worship and Cultural Monuments

7:10 p.m.: The Armenian Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement regarding the targeting of the places of religious worship and cultural monuments in Shushi.

On October 8, the armed forces of Azerbaijan launched airstrikes at the masterpiece of the Armenian architecture - the Holy Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral located in the cultural capital of Artsakh, Shushi, causing significant damages.

This is another crime of the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan, which reveals its inhuman essence. Nevertheless, this action fully fits into its policy of Armenophobia developed for decades. Azerbaijan, which has completely annihilated the Armenian cultural heritage in Nakhichevan and in other parts of the historical homeland of the Armenian people, now throughout the ongoing military aggression against Artsakh is trying to deprive Armenians of Artsakh of their homeland and historical memory.

With these actions Azerbaijan replicates behaviour of its newly acquired allies - the infamous international terrorist organizations, who are responsible for destruction of the numerous historical-cultural monuments in the Middle East. 

We condemn in the strongest way this heinous crime of Azerbaijan is also a challenge to the whole civilized humanity. 

In this regard, we remind the Azerbaijani military-political authorities that targeting religious worship sites and cultural monuments is war crime as enshrined in international humanitarian law, the responsibility for which has no statute of limitations.

8 p.m.: According to the Armenian Unified Infocenter,  22 civilians have been killed and 95 injured in Artsakh since the fighting began. Approximately 5800 buildings are reported to be damaged or destroyed. 

Live Press Briefing on the Military Situation in Artsakh

9 p.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Ministry of Defense held a live press briefing to provide the latest on the situation in Artsakh. Below

Azerbaijani Armed forces initiated attacks in the north as well as in the south of the Line of Contact. The attacks on the southern regions have been more fierce. Retaliatory fire by Armenian forces caused the adversary considerable human losses and destruction of military equipment, pushing back their forces. Fighting currently continues especially in the south of the Line of Contact. Today and throughout last night, Azerbaijani forces shelled different civilian settlements, especially targeting Stepanakert, Shushi and other cities. 

Today, the adversary targeted the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi, the fact that they targeted it twice in one day clearly shows the intentionality of the act. As a result of the attack there are wounded journalists, civilians and the Cathedral has been considerably damaged. To sum up the aftermath of the Azerbaijani attacks on the civilian population up until October 7 (not including the night of the 7th and 8th), there are 93 wounded, of which only 20 have sustained light or medium injuries; the remaining are in critical condition. Twenty civilians have died (not counting the one death in the Republic of Armenia); 4600 buildings have been completely or partially destroyed; 430 vehicles have been destroyed; 750 private and public objects have been targeted.  



Answering a question about PM Nikol Pashinyan’s announcement in the morning, which was later confirmed by the National Security Service that there are people in the Defense Army spreading disinformation among soldiers (saying that the PM is planning to give back territories), Hovhannisyan said that it is important that steps are being taken by relevant authorities to reveal any such attempts. He went on to say that nothing can be excluded and that it is the job of the special services to investigate and identify those who commit such traitorous acts. 

Speaking about the strikes on the Ghazanchetsots Church in Shushi and the journalists that were wounded as a result, Hovhannisyan explained that according to the latest updates, one of the journalists is in critical condition. He reminded that journalists were also wounded in Martuni and stressed that the Azerbijani side is very well aware that a large group of international journalists are working on the ground. “You see everything that is happening with your own eyes,” Hovhannisyan said adding that Stepanakert and Shushi are not big cities thereby the Azerbaijnai side knows exactly what it is striking. It is very important that everything is recorded/documented so that the whole world knows what is happening. Hovhannisyan also said that the situation is not the same in Azerbaijan, because unlike Azerbaijan, the Armenian side differentiates between civilian population/infrastructures and military objects. Also, considering media restrictions, the number of journalists working in Azerbaijan is significantly lower than in Armenia.

Replying to a question about whether or not Armenia plans to retaliate for the Shushi bombing Hovhanissyan said that a proportional retaliation would be to target a cultural center and that the answer is “definitely no” (Azerbaijan had targeted a cultural center in Shushi on October 7). Hovhannisyan said that during the war in the 1990s Azerbaijan unleashed thousands of bombs on Stepanakert from the Shushi Cathedral. “We have been here long enough and we know their handwriting, the way they think, it is time for the world to find out as well,” he said.

Asked if media reports that Armenia has destroyed about 43 percent of Azerbaijan’s arsenal are correct, Hovhanissyan said that in any military situation and especially when the fighting is so intense, no army can replace its arsenal fast enough. The adversary lost more of its arsenal in the first five days of the conflict than it is losing now simply because there is less on the battlefield now than there initially was. Hovhanissyan said consequently, there is more artillery in use now because there are more stored artillery weapons compared to tanks. “It is a fact that they are trying to replenish their arsenal but it is difficult to tell how fast they will be able to complete that task. A considerable amount of the arsenal in use now is still Soviet, which we use too, most of the high tech weaponry in use by Azerbaijan is Israeli, there is also Turkish high tech weaponry in use but less than the Israeli. There are also more conventional Turkish made weapons on the field,” he said.  

When asked about the number of wounded servicemen, Hovhannisyan said that he cannot give an exact number at this moment. He did say that due to the professionalism of our doctors, after getting the needed medical assistance, about 30% of wounded servicemen return to the Line of Contact within the 24 hours. According to Hovhannisyan, this is quite a good result, considering the fact that the sides intensively use artillery (tens of thousands of shells are being used every single day).

Answering another question about whether the shelling of Ghazanchetsots church was done intentionally or is it a sign of despair and an attempt to disguise its failures on the battlefield, Hovhannisyan said that throughout centuries Armenian sanctuaries have always been targeted and that this was not an exception.


Azerbaijani Drones Shot Down Over Armenian Territory 

11 p.m.: According to Shushan Stepanyan, Defense Ministry spokesperson, seven Azerbaijani drones were shot down between 7:30 - 9:20 p.m. near the Armenian town of Vardenis.


Armenian and Russian Foreign Ministers Scheduled to Meet

Maria Zakharova, spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Armenia’s Foreign Minister is scheduled to visit Moscow between October 11 to 13 and that a meeting is scheduled with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. She noted that the current situation in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone as well as other regional issues will be discussed. Zakharova also said that Russia, both at the national level and as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, is making consistent efforts towards a ceasefire and is working to create conditions for the resumption of the negotiation process.


Parliament of the Netherlands Adopts Resolution, Urging Government to Condemn Turkey

The Parliament of the Netherlands has adopted a resolution, urging its government to condemn Turkey’s bellicose rhetoric and actions, which supports Azerbaijan in its ongoing war against Artsakh. The resolution was passed on the initiative of Sadet Karabulut, a member of the Dutch Socialist Party. The Parliament noted that intense military operations have resumed in Nagorno Karabakh and that Turkey with its aggressive rhetoric encourages Azerbaijan to continue the war. The Parliament also stressed that all parties directly or indirectly involved in the conflict should work towards a ceasefire regime and called upon Turkey with the EU context to work towards negotiations.

Geneva City Council Resolution: Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh Have the Right to Life and to Self-Determination

The Geneva City Council Resolution R-271 "The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh have the right to life and to self-determination" condemned the attack by the military forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan against the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh.  

The text of the Resolution states that the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is a vital and indigenous territory for the Armenians of the Caucasus region. The text also references the roots of the conflict going back to the decision made by Stalin in 1923, who arbitrarily ceded the territory of Nagorno Karabakh to Soviet Azerbaijan ignoring the demographic of the territory. 

The Geneva City Council Resolution also mentions the independence referendum held in Nagorno-Karabakh on December 10, 1991 in accordance with the then existing Soviet law [The constitution and the laws of the USSR, upon the secession of a union republic from the USSR, allow the peoples of autonomous formations and coexisting ethnic groups the right to self-determination of its national-legal status]. The statement also mentions the Sumgait, Baku, Kirovabad and Madagh pogroms of Armenians at the hands of Azerbaijani authorities of the time and concludes that the security of Armenians can not be guaranteed within the Republic of Azerbaijan. 

In conclusion, the Geneva City Council Resolution states that they recognize the right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to self-determination as the only guarantor of their security. 

October 7

French Foreign Minister’s Statement Before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly

The following is an extract from the hearing of Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly - Paris, on October 7

On Nagorno Karabakh, the conflict situation at this time is very serious. This is the reason why our political mobilization is very strong because, as you know, France has had a mandate from the OSCE since 1994 (…) [as co-chair of the Minsk Group] this which led us last night to make a press release that you may have found surprising, both from my colleague Pompeo, from my colleague Lavrov and from myself, it is rare that we make three press releases on this format, to call for an end to the fighting on both sides and the opening of negotiations with the three co-presidents (…). It is a statement of great firmness towards each other. We want it to be listened to. There is a significant number of civilian casualties, for weak territorial advances on the part of Azerbaijan, since it was Azerbaijan that initiated the conflict, for relatively small territorial gain, the conflict continues this morning. We want everyone to understand that it is in their interest to immediately stop hostilities without conditionality and that a negotiation is effectively opened under the triple sponsorship of the countries that I indicated earlier. 

The novelty is that there is a military involvement of Turkey which risks fueling the internationalization of the conflict, which we do not want. We are very clear about our desire to ensure that this compromise which consists in renouncing all conditionality, respecting the ceasefire and entering into negotiations can lead to a shared positive solution, even if it takes a little time. To tell you the truth, we are in daily contact with each other as far as I am concerned, and I know that it is also the same for my Russian colleague and Deputy Secretary Pompeo. For the moment we have not succeeded, it's been 11 days that it lasts, there will be meetings tomorrow in Geneva, there will be other meetings Monday in Moscow, we express the wish that this can lead to the opening of negotiations. We cannot start by saying "I want a ceasefire but on condition that" otherwise we will not get out of it. We stop, we sit at the table, we discuss and we take the time to discuss over time to agree on a situation that would allow both to live normally. (…) I am not on the line - we can have this disagreement - to give up our role in the framework of the Minsk process. 

I have read the forums which say that France must emerge from a form of impartiality that its position within the Minsk Group necessarily confers on it. Everyone knows the historical, friendly, fraternal relations with the Armenians, but I'm not sure it's doing the Armenians a favor to do so. Besides, they don't ask us. I have my Armenian colleague every day. I know him very well. They don't ask us that. Mr. Pashinyan and my colleague Minister of Foreign Affairs ask that France play its role with Russia and with the United States to bring about both the ceasefire and also the negotiation process. The fault that we all three have committed collectively, and also the Armenians and the Azerbaijanis, is that we did not seriously engage in negotiations on the territories. And I understand that some people say: "we are going to make a ceasefire, we will stop there, there will be a dividing line and it will start again for 10 years." They must all be assured that there is a ceasefire and that there is an immediate commitment to a discussion on the territories. You know very well that there is not only the territory identified on the central map of Nagorno-Karabakh; there are also neighboring districts which are the subject of fighting. Let's put that on the table and start the negotiation on the basis of a ceasefire as it is today by asking for the non-intervention of external powers, we have designated Turkey, by considering that it Turkey's intervention in the areas in question had to cease, arms deliveries to cease and in particular the Syrian mercenaries transferred, since now we have almost the evidence, be repatriated where are they from. (...) On civilians, it is true that the conflict continues, that the bombardments continue, in particular in the main town of Stepanakert, bombings take place, it leads to migrations, very difficult situations, we repeat that the Laws of war prohibit hitting civilians, we tell both sides, when war breaks out, both sides act, and we want them to come up with a solution that avoids aggression against civilians. We also participate in the intervention of NGOs to help the populations of Nagorno-Karabakh in their difficulties. We must stop the escalation, it is a requirement for us and it is the diplomatic role to make it known and to put pressure on both sides to reach a solution at the start of negotiations. (…)

I hope that the negotiation hypotheses which are in progress today can lead to a real discussion. We understand the empathy evoked by [MPs Clapot and Teissier] towards the Armenians. (…) There must be a great deal of clarification with Turkey. We have irritating and even conflicting subjects that accumulate. (…) You have the Libyan question (…), there is the Syrian question (…), you have the Iraqi question which is new (…), you have the question of Nagorno-Karabakh, you have the question of the Eastern Mediterranean, it's starting to do a lot. (…) The President of the Republic spoke with Mr. Erdoğan a few days ago, I will talk soon with my colleague Çavuşoğlu (…), the relationship is “tonic” I say it like that because I am in public. To conduct this strong dialogue, the European Union must be united, our European partners must be in the same dynamic. (…)


PM Pashinyan’s Interview With Russia’s First Channel

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan gave an interview to Russia’s First Channel. The questions and answers are provided below.

Question: Were you surprised by the Azerbaijani offensive as to the intensity of fire and the military equipment being used, in particular, I mean the widespread use of drones?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan: To be honest, it was not unexpected, as Azerbaijan had been using warlike rhetoric, hate speech against Armenians and everything related to Armenians for a long time. We had gotten accustomed to the language of threats.

What came as a surprise was the use of terrorist groups involved in this conflict. I think this changes the whole context of what is happening, because yesterday Russia, the Russian special services officially confirmed that fighters from some cross-border terrorist groups are involved in the hostilities, that is, in the attack on Nagorno-Karabakh.

I think that Nagorno-Karabakh is practically fighting against international terrorism, which makes great difference in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Question: The day before yesterday, you went to Stepanakert for the first time since the flare-up, where you met with the military, you probably saw a lot with your own eyes. The Azerbaijani army’s tactics most likely consists in the use of high-precision weapons with a view to hitting Armenian logistics units. What do you oppose to that tactics?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan: The Nagorno-Karabakh army opposes the mobility of its units and preventive strikes. It turned out to be quite effective. Besides, the troops of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army are successfully destroying their drones.

Question: The Azerbaijani leadership says they are prepared to halt the fire in case you recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as the territory of Azerbaijan; there are even demands to present a timetable for the withdrawal of Armenian troops from Nagorno-Karabakh. You take the opposite position. And this is like a dead end. What is the compromise acceptable for you? What compromises are unacceptable?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan: You know, it would be inappropriate to talk about details in this atmosphere. As for the settlement, it seems to be obvious that compromise is needed to resolve a conflict. The Armenian side has always been ready for compromise. If Azerbaijan is prepared for compromise, too, it will change the situation.

Question: Baku blames you for violating the UN Security Council resolution on Karabakh. Which is your response to those accusations? And also, did those resolutions somehow manage to resolve the controversy?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan: You know, the UN Security Council resolutions should not be taken out of context and presented in a different light. They need an in-depth analysis to understand what is stated there. They do not say anything about Armenia’s military operations at all.

The latest resolution states that Azerbaijan has violated the international ceasefire agreement, as a result of which it has lost territories, and those territories have been taken over by the self-defense forces of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenia is referred to in a different context. Armenia is urged to use its ties with the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to somehow stabilize the situation. The last of those resolutions was adopted in 1993, at a time when there was a specific operational situation. I mean that those resolutions should not be cut out of context.

Question: Can the contradictions between Azerbaijan and Armenia spill over the borders of bilateral relations, or go beyond the boundaries of a bilateral conflict? You say that the Turkish military is actually leading the operation. What kind of international support do you expect if the war spills over the borders of the region?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan: The situation has already gone beyond the borders of the region. I mean the borders of the Karabakh conflict zone, considering that radical elements and international terrorists are there. It already poses a threat to the security of all countries in the greater region. And this is a threat to global security. In other words, this has already gone beyond the borders of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

And, of course, Turkey’s involvement is changing the context, too. I talked about it many times during the past week, during the last ten days. Why did Turkey return to the South Caucasus a hundred years later? For two reasons: to follow up the policy of genocide and to push ahead with its drive for expansion to the north, east and south. All this should be viewed in the context of the policy that Turkey is pursuing in the Mediterranean, the Middle East, with regard to Greece and Cyprus, and so on. This is a policy of restoring the Turkish Empire. This is a threat not only to our region in the narrow sense, but also to global security in the broadest sense.

And I am convinced that international partners should draw specific conclusions from this, as this is no longer a question of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia’s security. This is a matter of security for many countries, and even for a wide range of superpowers.

Question: Nagorno-Karabakh has not yet been recognized by Armenia. Nevertheless, in recent days both you and the President of Armenia spoke about such an opportunity. Do you think that the recognition can help Karabakh in any way, or will it aggravate the situation?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan: You asked the most important question, at least one of the most important questions. The question is that if our analysis shows that it will help Karabakh resolve the issue, we will take such a step; if not, we will refrain from making such a decision. We are holding discussions to that effect. In addition, we take into account the fact that we must act as a constructive member of the international community.

Question: The present confrontation is the most deadly one in the last quarter of a century. But sooner or later any war ends. What is your vision of peace?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - It is just necessary to cease the fire; the aggression against Karabakh should be stopped; we need to halt the terrorists because I consider this an international act of terrorism against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.



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