Today, as fierce battles continued along the entire length of the Artsakh-Azerbaijani Line of Contact, Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan announced that he was heading to the front lines with special forces. He said the Armenian nation and homeland are under threat and called upon Armenians all over the world to unite and defend our “inalienable right to live in our own land.”
As news started coming in of a large-scale offensive by Azerbaijani forces in the northern and southern parts of Artsakh and as the capital Stepanakert came under shelling yet again, Artsakh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement calling for the international recognition of the Republic of Artsakh. The statement said that this would be “the only functioning mechanism for restoring peace and security in the region.”
Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a strong statement noting that the political-military leadership of Azerbaijan will pay a high price for committing grave crimes against the Armenians of Artsakh, for importing terrorists to the region and for undermining regional security.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addressed the nation later in the day: “We are living at a most fateful stage. The objective the Azerbaijani-Turkish bandits are pursuing is not to resolve a military or military-political issue. They are not here about Karabakh or the Karabakh issue. They have not come with the objective of capturing territories, villages, cities. Their objective is the Armenian people. Their objective is to continue their genocidal policy. And they have placed before them the issue of continuing the Armenian Genocide today. But here today, I want to say that the Armenian, the citizen of the Republic of Armenia, the citizen of the Republic of Artsakh are not travelers on the road to Der Zor.”
The situation remains tense as we publish this briefing, Stepanakert is being shelled yet again.
Here is a recap of the day:
Artsakh President Leaves for the Front Lines With Special Forces
8:30 a.m.: According to Artsrun Hovhannisyan, there have been fierce battles along the front line last night. He said that the adversary has brought in new forces into the battle and that the Armenian side is “heroically resisting.”
President of Artsakh Arayik Harutyunyan has left for the frontline with special forces. He tweeted that the Armenian nation and homeland are under threat and called upon Armenians all over the world to unite and defend our “inalienable right to live in our own land.”
Fierce Battles Taking Place
8:42 a.m.: MoD Spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan says that fierce and relentless battles are continuing in the north and south sections of the front line in Artsakh: “The adversary has accumulated large forces on these positions and has gone on the offensive. Armenian units are holding back their advance causing large losses.”
U.S. Embassy Issues Security Alert
9 a.m.: The U.S. Embassy in Armenia issues a security alert urging U.S. citizens to avoid non-essential in-country travel. “The U.S. Embassy in Armenia also continues to urge U.S. citizens to avoid travel south of Yerevan, east of Lake Sevan, and east of the M4 and M16 Highways north of the Dilijan National Park and up to the border with Georgia in Tavush province. Do not travel to the Nagorno-Karabakh region.” A day before the Azerbaijani offensive on Artsakh on September 27, the U.S. Embassy sent out a similar warning.
Stepanakert Comes Under Heavy Shelling
11:40 a.m.: The Artsakh Foreign Ministry tweeted saying that the capital Stepanakert is under heavy shelling. EVN Report’s Roubina Margossian who is in Stepanakert says they are now in bunkers.
11:55 a.m.: Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili called on the two sides to resume dialogue, that she is ready to organize talks in Tbilisi and also made an appeal to EU members by saying: “If partnership means anything, I urge you to intervene immediately.” She said Georgia has not provided a corridor to transport arms to any of the parties.
12:12 p.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan/MoD, said that Azerbaijan is using long-range ballistic missiles in the direction of those civilian settlements that can also result in an environmental disaster.
12:19 p.m.: According to Artsakh Infocenter, Lieutenant Colonel Suren Sarumyan announced that intensive military operations are taking place right now. The adversary has manpower and equipment losses. They are also targeting civilian settlements behind the front line forces including Stepanakert.
Artsakh’s Foreign Ministry Calls for International Recognition of the Republic of Artsakh
12:40 p.m.: Artsakh’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement about recognizing the independence of the Republic of Artsakh.
Starting from September 27, 2020, Azerbaijani Armed Forces, with the help of Turkey and terrorist groups from the Middle East, launched an aggressive war against the Republic of Artsakh.
Azerbaijan’s large-scale offensive against Artsakh is accompanied with gross violations of the norms of international humanitarian law as well as norms and laws practiced during armed conflicts. In particular, Azerbaijani-Turkish armed groups deliberately shell the cities, villages and civilian infrastructures of Artsakh in order to terrorize and exterminate the civilian population. Because of their criminal acts, there are many victims among the civilian population.
We welcome the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the international community in general, to immediately end Azerbaijan's military aggression and reduce tensions. At the same time, we note that all the demands and calls of the international community are blatantly ignored by the three-way alliance of Turkey, Azerbaijan and terrorist organizations.
We call on the international community to recognize the independence of the Artsakh Republic in order to ensure the right to life and peaceful development of the citizens of Artsakh. In the current situation, the international recognition of Artsakh is the only functioning mechanism for restoring peace and security in the region.
1:20 p.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan/MoD wrote on his Facebook page that the Azerbaijani military is utilizing a LAR-160 artillery rocket that carries clustered submunition warheads against civilian populations in Artsakh.
1:30 p.m.: Artsakh’s Defense Army has succeeded in pushing back today’s large-scale offensive by Azerbaijani forces. In one area of the frontline, Armenian forces are on the counter-offensive. In other sections fierce defensive battles are continuing.
Artsakh President Calls For Unity to Protect the Homeland, Says “Time is Now”
2:35 p.m.: Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan wrote the following on his Facebook page [unofficial translation]:
At this time I continue to be on the front lines. The heads of the National Security Services of Artsakh and Armenia are with me.
The boys are fulfilling the task before them brilliantly. I am encouraged by the courage and professionalism of our servicemen and the dedication of our volunteers.
In one word, in the sacred work of protecting our Homeland, we are standing firm both on the front line and rear positions.
Once again, I call on all the children of our people, to unite around the protection of the homeland, the time is now.
Armenia’s Foreign Ministry Statement: Armenia is the Guarantor of the Security of the People of Artsakh
3:35 p.m.: Statement Issued by Armenia’s Foreign Ministry
Ignoring the persistent calls of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries and the entire international community on the immediate cessation of hostilities, Azerbaijan and Turkey jointly continue large-scale hostilities with the aim of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by military means.
To this end, Azerbaijan has put forward its entire military capacities, reinforced by Turkish military assistance, which includes also foreign terrorists fighters transferred from other conflict zones in the Middle East. The civilian settlements and civilian population on the entire territory of Artsakh are being subjected to systematic and massive attacks, resulting in human casualties and destruction.
These actions aim at depriving the people of Artsakh of their historical homeland by perpetrating mass atrocities.
The Republic of Armenia, as the guarantor of the security of the people of Artsakh, will take all the necessary means and steps to prevent those mass atrocities.
The political-military leadership of Azerbaijan will pay a high price for committing such grave crimes against the Armenians of Artsakh, for importing terrorists to the region and for undermining regional security.
Artsakh Defense Ministry Releases Names of 51 Soldiers Killed in Battle
Artsakh Defense Ministry Releases Names of 51 Soldiers Killed in Battle
4:30 p.m.: The Artsakh Defense Ministry just released the names of an additional 51 Armenian servicemen killed in battle, bringing the total number killed to 208 killed.
Eghoyan, Arsen, b. 2001
Stepanyan, Levon, b. 2001
Arakelyan, Edgar, b. 2000
Arakelyan, Vahe, b. 2000
Mkrtchyan, Saribek, b. 2000
Babayan, Suren, b. 2000
Mikichyan, Gagik, b. 2000
Logyan, Artyom, b. 2001
Petrosyan, Vache, b. 1996
Hovhannisyan, Karen, b. 1997 (volunteer)
Grigoryan, Arsen, b. 2001
Mkrtchyan, Aram, b. 2002
Ghevondyan, Gor, b. 2000
Galstyan, Yerem, b. 1979
Yeranosyan, Artur, b. 1995
Arzumanyan, Davit, b. 1986
Martirosyan, Albert, b. 1995
Sargsyan, Garnik, b. 1990
Malkhasyan, Garnik, b. 1991
Khachatryan, Derenik, b. 1996
Vardazaryan, Ashot, b. 1985
Gorodnichi, Yevgeni, b. 1993
Hakobyan, Taron, b. 1987
Abrahamyan, Arshak, b. 2002
Manukyan, Maqsim, b. 2002
Davoyan, Eduard, b. 2001
Khachatryan, Albert, b. 1994
Hakobyan, Mush, b. 1999
Aslanyan, Van, b. 2001
Stepanyan, Alen, b. 2001
Margaryan, Edgar, b. 2000
Grigoryan, Misha, b. 2001
Ghulyan, Davit, b. 2002
Ghazaryan, Harutyun, b. 2001
Mkrtchyan, Arman, b. 2001
Galstyan, Rustam, b. 2001
Galeyan, Mkhitar, b. 2000
Beglaryan, Serzh, b. 2000
Hakobqekhvyan, Serzh, b. 2000
Harutyunyan, Mihran, b. 2001
Muradkhanyan, Grigor, b. 2001
Yeganyan, Mikayel, b. 2001
Chipliyev, Artem, b. 2002
Azatyan, Arman, b. 2000
Bakhshiyan, Kamo, b. 1988
Karapetyan, Gor, b. 2001
Harutyunyan, Armen, b. 2001
Manukyan, Gor, b. 1991
Bagiyan, Gevorg, b. 1976
Movsisyan, Slava, b. 1978 (volunteer)
Arakelyan, Norayr, b. 1960 (volunteer)
4:45 p.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan/MoD writes that a large group has fallen under attack, dozens of military hardware has been destroyed. A few minutes later he tweeted that the adversary was hit hard.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan Addresses the Nation
At 5:30 p.m. local time, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addressed the nation regarding the situation in Artsakh [unofficial translation]:
Dear people, proud Armenians of the Republic of Armenia, proud Armenians of Artsakh, proud Armenians of the Diaspora:
For almost a week now, the Armenian nation in Artsakh and in Armenia has been resisting the terrorists attack of the Azerbaijani-Turkish offensive. The scale of the offensive is unprecedented, the enemy is attacking with such a scale that according to military experts has not happened very often during the 21st century in any corner of the world or any of the conflict zones. Hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles, thousands of missiles, several dozen airplanes, hundreds of UAVs, and units in the tens of thousands are attacking the military units of the Artsakh Defense Army along the entire length of the Line of Contact for almost a week now.
Our analysis has shown that between 150 to 200 Azerbaijani soldiers are attacking a single military unit of the Artsakh Defense Army. And such attacks are repeated several times during the day and are accompanied with missiles, artillery, armored vehicles, aircrafts and UAVs. According to our servicemen, aside from the military units of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, Syrian mercenaries and terrorists; special units of the Turkish Armed Forces are on the ground. There are 150 high-ranking Turkish soldiers leading the military operations from Azerbaijan. This description, in itself should show that intense battles are taking place on the frontline. For over a week now, the Artsakh Defense Army along with the volunteers are in a life and death struggle for the sacred land of Artsakh. As of now, we already have significant human losses, both military and civilian, large numbers of military equipment are no longer usable, but the adversary still has not been able to solve any of its strategic issues. The vigilance with which our soldiers, officers, generals and veterans are resisting the criminal attacks is unbelievable. Our soldiers and volunteers are not sparing anything and are showing incredible examples of heroism. Hundreds of Azerbiajani armored vehicles, dozens of helicopters and airplanes, hundreds of UAVs have been destroyed, and their human losses surpass several thousand. Intense battles continue along the Line of Contact. In some locations, the forces of the Defense Army are in challenging positions, in others they are in control of the situation.
Dear compatriots, brothers and sisters,
We are living at a most fateful stage. The objective the Azerbaijani-Turkish bandits are pursuing is not to resolve a military or military-political issue. They are not here about Karabakh or the Karabakh issue. They have not come with the objective of capturing territories, villages, cities. Their objective is the Armenian people. Their objective is to continue their genocidal policy. And they have placed before them the issue of continuing the Armenian Genocide today. But today, here, I want to say the Armenian, the citizen of the Republic of Armenia, the citizen of the Republic of Artsakh are not travelers on the road to Der Zor. Today, more than ever, we are bound to our identity, our homeland, the indestructible conviction to protect our rights. I was convinced of this last night, after I had phone conversations with the commanders and officers of the Artsakh Defense Army. I have told them that I love them, that I am proud of them, I bow before them. I told them that the Armenian nation has had the unique taste of victory and does not agree with any other fate.
Victory and only the victory is the ending that we imagine at the end of this struggle. Today, a few hours ago, the Artsakh Defense Army has launched an active counteroffensive and registered significant successes and destroyed several Azerbaijani Special Force Units. No matter how many rebel fighters the Azerbaijani side has cannot compete with the Armenian will to win and live and with united efforts we will break the back of the adversary so that it never raises its murderous hands on us, so that its bloody gaze will never fall upon our people.
Dear people, proud Armenians of the Republic of Armenia, proud Armenians of Artsakh, proud Armenians of the Diaspora, this is a new Sardarapat and each of us should be ready to devote oneself to one mission and the name of that mission is victory. Each of us, every second, must be ready to be on the front line of that victory. We will win and we will most certainly win, and have no doubt, we will most certainly win.
Long live freedom
Long live the Republic of Armenia
Love live the Republic of Artsakh
Long live our children who will live in a free and joyful Armenia
Glory to the fallen heroes
Glory to the victorious Armenian army
Glory to the victorious Armenian people
8:25 p.m.: Artsakh’s Foreign Ministry tweeted that Azerbaijan is shelling the capital Stepanakert with heavy rockets.