Stepanakert, the capital of Artsakh and the town of Shushi came under intensive shelling today by Azerbaijani forces. A maternity hospital in Stepanakert and other civilian infrastructure were heavily damaged. One civilian was killed and several others wounded including first responders of Artsakh’s State Service of Emergency Situations.
During a live press briefing, Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Defense Ministry said that, during the day, Azerbaijani Armed Forces, along with terrorist groups and special forces, continued its offensive in the direction of subdivisions placed along the border of the Republic of Armenia, as well as from the north to the south of Artsakh. Small-scale military operations took place in the direction of Berdzor and in the southern direction. Despite their efforts, Azerbaijani forces were unable to advance their positions toward Berdzor. Hovhannisyan noted that the Armenian forces were, in fact, able to advance their positions in this direction.
In the meantime, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said that Armenian forces had bombed the city of Barda resulting in 21 deaths and over 70 injured. Armenia’s Defense Ministry spokesperson said that “the statement by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry that Armenian Armed Forces allegedly hit the town of Barda with Smerch rockets is false.”
Here is a chronology of official updates.
Irina Safaryan was born in a bunker during the First Karabakh War. Today, she is in Yerevan helping and assisting the women of Artsakh who were forced to flee the war launched by Azerbaijan a month ago. Leaving behind fathers, sons, husbands, brothers and their homes and lives, they are now holding rallies and protests in front of embassies and international organizations in Armenia’s capital demanding to be heard, demanding action, demanding the world’s condemnation. Irina is not only on the front lines with these women, she is one of the organizers.
9:35 a.m.: According to the Artsakh Defense Ministry, the relatively tense but stable situation was maintained in the Artsakh-Azerbaijani conflict zone overnight as Azerbaijani forces continued shelling peaceful settlements, including villages in the Martuni and Askeran regions. Currently, localized battles are taking place in some directions of the front line. Artsakh Defense Army units continue neutralizing Azerbaijani subversive groups.
10:45 a.m.: According to Artsakh’s State Service of Emergency Situations, the night of October 27-28 was relatively calm in the settlements of Artsakh.
In the evening, upper sections of Martuni and Askeran regions were targeted by Azerbaijani forces. After midnight, the tense but stable situation was maintained.
In the morning, along with the military operations, peaceful settlements were again targeted by Azerbaijani forces. The situation in the gorge of Avetaranots village remains tense. The city of Shushi was also targeted. No casualties have been reported.
12:50 p.m.: According to the State Service of Emergency Situations of Artsakh, the city of Shushi is being attacked with Smerch multiple rocket launchers. One civilian has been killed, another two wounded.
1:10 p.m.: The Artsakh Defense Ministry has published the names of 59 Armenian servicemen killed in battle.
Virabyan, Gevorg [Musheghi], b. 1994
Chatinyan, Aren [Arturi], b. 2000
Hovhannisyan, Harut [Artaki], b. 2001
Aleksanyan, Ashot [Noriki], b. 2002
Mnatsakanyan, Norayr [Beniki], b. 2000
Hovakimyan, Ara [Maximi], b. 1988
Serobyan, Sevak [Levoni], b. 1987
Manucharyan, Mher [Gariki], b. 1990
Melikyan, Vahe [Vahagni], b. 1996
Dallakyan, Arkadia [Felixi], b. 1978
Gasparyan, Hayk [Daviti], b. 1984
Melkonyan, Karen [Vachiki], b. 1991
Madoyan, Ara [Maximi], b. 1977
Arosyan, Melikset [Sargsi], b. 1992 (reservist)
Ghukasyan, Artur [Arayi], b. 1991 (reservist)
Musikyan, Karen [Levoni], b. 1987 (reservist)
Abgaryan, Gevorg [Vazgeni], b. 1980
Balayan, Grisha [Manasi], b. 1990
Petrosyan, Aren [Samveli], b. 2001
Margaryan, Vladimir [Spartaki], b. 2002
Ghazaryan, Melkon [Avetisi], b. 1982
Petrosyan, Musegh [Gevorgi], b. 1988
Sargsyan, Hamlet [Ashoti], b. 1994
Yeganyan, Erik [Garniki], b. 1981
Avetisyan, Tigran [Smbati], b. 1996
Mamikonyan, Arsen [Alexandri], b. 1996
Nurbikyan, Mushegh [Harutyuni], b. 1981
Davtyan, Garik [Adami], b. 2001
Grigoryan, Sahak [Varazdati], b. 1984
Hovakimyan, Ara [Zhirayri], b. 1989
Voskanyan, Tigran [Rafiki], b. 1993 (reservist)
Ghazaryan, Armen [Vaghinaki], b. 2001
Tumanyan, Gor [Seyrani], b. 2000
Gabrielyan, Yura [Ashoti], b. 2002
Khomov, Ashot [Mihrani], b. 2001
Chatalyan, Ruben [Kirakosi], b. 2002
Aleyan, Davit [Vachagani], b. 2001
Kocharyan, Arman [Artushi], b. 2000
Atabekyan, Arman [Sanasari], b. 2001
Gevorgyan, Areg [Vahagni], b. 2001
Khurshudyan, Levon [Gevorgi], b. 2001
Avetisyan, Tigran [Gevorgi], b. 2000
Gevorgyan, Roman [Karapeti], b. 2000
Avetisyan, Yervand [Mkhitari], b. 2000
Hambardzumyan, Ruben [Kareni], b. 2001
Manukyan, Levon [Arayi], b. 2000
Hakobyan, Davit [Arami], b. 2001
Khachatryan, Seryozha [Arami], b. 2001
Ghasabyan, Arman [Kamoyi], b. 2001
Ivanov, Pyotr [Armeni], b. 2000
Aghababyan, Vahe [Nersesi], b. 2001
Mahtesyan, Gurgen [Gevorgi], b. 2001
Balbabyan, Artak [Azati], b. 2001
Sayadyan, Torgom [Arzumani], b. 2001
Yeghikyan, Vahe [Arturi], b. 2001
Harutyunyan, Yeprem [Daviti], b. 2001
Qaloyan, Murad [Yuriki], b. 2000
Kirakosyan, Davit [Artaki], b. 2000
Mosoyan, Davit [Arami], b. 2001
2:10 p.m.: Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan said that the statement by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry that the Armenian Armed Forces allegedly hit the town of Barda with Smerch rockets is false.
Stepanakert and Shushi Come Under Azerbaijani Fire
2:30 p.m.: The Artsakh Defense Army reported that Azerbaijan, grossly violating the ceasefire, continues targeting civilian settlements. Using Smerch multiple rocket launchers, they are shelling Shushi and the capital Stepanakert. As a result, there are casualties among the civilian population.
2:39 p.m.: According to the Armenian Unified Infocenter, Azerbaijani Armed Forces have targeted a civilian hospital in the capital Stepanakert. No information yet on casualties or wounded. A few minutes earlier, they had reported that the Azerbaijani air force was shelling the city.
3:35 p.m.: The Artsakh Government Ombudsman’s wrote the following on their Facebook Page:
On October 28, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces struck more than 15 times on different parts of the capital Stepanakert and nearby Shushi, deliberately targeting the Maternal and Child Healthcare Center and some residential and public objects.
Civilian objects in #Shushi, #Artsakh #Karabakh, were also attacked by #Azerbaijan w/Smerch MLRS. 1 civilian killed, 2 wounded. A school targeted. Deliberate attacks on buildings dedicated to education, are attacks on our kids' right to education, & violation of #IL & #WarCrime. pic.twitter.com/K1779IVxMS— Arayik Harutyunyan | Artsakh President (@Pres_Artsakh) October 28, 2020
One civilian was killed and two were wounded in Shushi. The human damage in Stepanakert is being clarified. Large-scale destruction is reported in Stepanakert, including at the Maternal and Child Healthcare Center.
The Human Rights Ombudsman of the Artsakh Republic states that the Azerbaijani forces continue their deliberate war crimes against the civilian population, even targeting the Maternal and Child Healthcare Center. These new crimes are a consequence of the international community's silence to the previous crimes, which encourages Azerbaijan. Therefore, both Azerbaijan and the international community are responsible for these crimes.
Aliyev Ready to Meet Pashinyan Without Conditions
3:38 p.m: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announces his readiness to meet with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Moscow without conditions.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev announced his readiness for talks in the Russian capital with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, but doubts the ability of Yerevan to work constructively to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“I did not receive such an invitation (for talks in Moscow). I have repeatedly participated in trilateral meetings of the presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia, but after Pashinyan came to power in Armenia, there were no such meetings. These meetings were with previous presidents. Armenia and I have never shied away from these meetings,” Aliyev said in an interview to Interfax.
Aliyev stressed that he considered these meetings positive, since Russia, as a co-chair of the Minsk Group, plays a special role in the settlement process.
“Russia has always maintained close ties with both Armenia and Azerbaijan, and today, in terms of political and economic interaction, Russia is very actively cooperating with Azerbaijan and Armenia, as our neighbor. Therefore, of course, most of these meetings were held in Russia. But there were no such meetings under Pashinyan. I do not know how effective they will be now… But if such a proposal comes, we have always considered it positively, and will consider it,” he said.
The President of Azerbaijan stated that he was ready to come to Moscow for negotiations with the Prime Minister of Armenia, “and, as you say, without any conditions.”
National Assembly Makes Amendments to the Law on Defense, Legal Regime of Martial Law and Criminal Code
5 p.m.: During the second reading, Parliament voted in favor of the Government’s legislative initiatives to make amendments to the Law on Defense, the Law on the Legal Regime of Martial Law and the Criminal Code. All the MPs that were present voted in favor of all three draft laws.
According to the amendments made to the Criminal Code, those trying to avoid conscription, mobilization and training sessions during martial law, will be strictly punished. Any such act will be punished with imprisonment between six to twelve years instead of the current four to six years. Voluntarily leaving the place of service or military unit during martial law will be punished with imprisonment between six to twelve years. With the proposed changes, desertion will be punished with imprisonment between eight to fifteen years, instead of the existing six to twelve years.
Based on the changes proposed to the Law on Defense, the term civilian militia was defined by law. According to the definition, it is the voluntary participation of citizens in the defense of the Republic of Armenia during the armed attack on Armenia, or when there is an imminent danger of such an attack, or during military operations. The civilian militia will operate in accordance with the administrative-territorial division of the Republic of Armenia and under the command of the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia. It will consist of military units and their subordinate brigades and battalions. The overall structure and the use of the civilian militia is approved by the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Armenia.
According to the changes to the Law on the Legal Regime of Martial Law, the Government will be allowed to use the property of individuals and legal entities during martial law. The private property of individuals or legal entities can be used if the state does not otherwise have access to a sufficient quantity of the needed property.
Armenian Foreign Ministry Statement on Shelling of Stepanakert and Shushi
5:30 p.m.: Following heavy strikes in the capital Stepanakert and the town of Shushi, Armenia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry issued the following statement:
The Armed Forces of Azerbaijan throughout the day bombed and shelled the capital of the Republic of Artsakh, Stepanakert, and the second largest city, Shushi, multiple times. Residential areas of the city and civilian infrastructure, including the maternity hospital of Stepanakert, were attacked. There are casualties - killed and wounded - among the civilian population.
This war crime, which is a gross violation of international humanitarian law and customary law, clearly demonstrates that the people of Artsakh are Azerbaijan’s target, including newborn babies, mothers and elders. The attempts of the Azerbaijani military-political leadership to kill the life in Artsakh will fail and the organizers of these crimes will be held responsible.
First Responders Wounded in Shushi
6:40 p.m.: Three first responders of Artsakh’s State Emergency Service were wounded during their humanitarian mission following Azerbaijani shelling in the town of Shushi. According to the doctors, they are in critical but stable condition.
6:45 p.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan of Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that the information spread by the Azerbaijani side about Armenia’s losses are false. He called on everyone to follow only official Armenian sources.
5:10 p.m.: A video message from Artak Beglaryan, the Human Rights Defender of Artsakh, about the strike on the Republican Medical Center of Stepanakert, including the maternity & child ward. “The international community bears responsibility for these war crimes because they do not stop them,” writes Beglaryan.
#Breaking!— Artak Beglaryan (@Artak_Beglaryan) October 28, 2020
My video message & introduction on the #Azerbaijan|i today's deliberate strike on the Republican medical center of #Stepanakert, including Maternity & child hospital.
Intl community bears responsibility for these #WarCrimes as doesn't stop them.#DontBeBlind pic.twitter.com/tla9VvBXSg
7:30 p.m.: According to the Artsakh Defense Ministry, Azerbaijani forces continued shelling civilian settlements of Artsakh during the day. In particular, Shushi and Stepanakert were shelled by Azerbaijani forces with Smerch multiple rocket launchers. The capital’s maternity hospital and civilian infrastructure of both cities were heavily damaged. One civilian was killed and a number of others were wounded.
Azerbaijani firing points were neutralized following the actions of the Defense Army. Artsakh’s Defense Ministry calls on the Azerbaijani side to adhere to the agreements on the humanitarian ceasefire, otherwise an adequate response will be initiated.
Azerbaijan Establishing Terrorist Bases
8:20 p.m.: According to Shushan Stepanyan, the spokesperson of the Defense Ministry:
Analyzing the radio communication of Turkish-Azerbaijani mercenaries and terrorists and other intelligence, it became clear that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces have been establishing terrorist bases in recent days after the withdrawal of Armenian troops from some areas of the front line. These actions can aggravate the situation not only on the borders of Armenia and Artsakh, but also pose a serious threat to the whole region.
Turkey Blatantly Misleading International Community with Fake and Provocative Allegations.
9 p.m.: Statement by the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anna Naghdalyan:
Unable to conceal the undeniable fact of deploying international jihadist terrorists from Syria and Libya to the South Caucasus region, Turkey once again resorts to the policy of blatantly misleading the international community with fake and provocative allegations.
The false allegations of the Turkish Ministry of Defense that foreign mercenaries are supporting Armenia and Artsakh reflect the dishonorable nature of the military-political leadership of Turkey.
The Armenian side stands for the immediate withdrawal of international terrorist organizations from the South Caucasus and resolutely rejects Turkey’s actions aimed at the further destabilization of the region.
We strongly condemn the joint efforts of Turkey and Azerbaijan, terrorism-supporting countries, to turn their countries into a hub of international terrorism and to spread that plague throughout the region. In order to confront this threat, close cooperation among all parties interested in regional security is required.
Armenia and Artsakh, unlike our two neighbors, do not host terrorists, but fight against them instead.
Ministry of Defense Live Press Briefing
10 p.m.: During a live press briefing, Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Ministry of Defense said that, during the day, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, along with the terrorist groups and special forces supporting it, continued its offensive in the direction of subdivisions placed along the border of the Republic of Armenia, as well as from the north to the south of Artsakh. Small-scale military operations took place in the direction of Berdzor and in the southern direction. Despite their efforts, Azerbaijani forces were unable to advance their positions toward Berdzor. Hovhannisyan noted that the Armenian forces were, in fact, able to advance their positions in this direction. In the north, mainly artillery was used, especially toward Martakert.
Hovhannisyan noted that, during the day, everyone witnessed the evidence of Azerbaijani atrocities, as a result of which peaceful civilians were killed and wounded in Shushi and Stepanakert. Also, the maternity hospital and other infrastructure have also been targeted. The Armenian side has called on the attention of the world to those atrocities.
Military operations continued in the south as well. Armenian forces continue neutralizing the subversive groups of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. These are mainly localized efforts and are not very intensive. Hovhannisyan reminded that the Defense Army expressed its willingness to stay committed to the ceasefire agreements reached with the Azerbaijani officials on numerous occasions. But it seems that Azerbaijan’s understanding of those agreements is very different. It seems that they interpret those agreements as permission to target the civilian population and settlements of Artsakh as well as to exterminate Armenians living in Artsakh. The Artsakh Defense Army is taking all necessary measures to neutralize any threat directed against the people of Artsakh. Hovhannisyan clarified that the dynamics of the military actions are not the same as in the first days of the war, it is less tense and more localized. The Azerbaijani side is mainly employing subversive groups, artillery and air forces.
While answering reporters’ questions, Hovhannisyan said that the Azerbaijani side has given the control of some areas to the terrorist groups and, in this regard, the Armenian side calls the attention of not only the Azerbaijani side to be responsible for the possible losses and consequences but also the attention of other countries in the region. He once again stressed that the Armenian side does not target the civilian population to take revenge for the actions of the Azerbaijani military forces and military-political authorities. “We fight against the enemy who invaded our home, Azerbaijan’s military units, Turkish forces, other forces and terrorist groups. We say welcome to hell and they will see that. The fighting is long, we won’t defeat them in hours or in days but we will win and they will burn in that hell.”
11:20 p.m.: Armenia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan tweeted that the latest ceasefire has failed to hold and for the third time now, Azerbaijan is incapable of respecting its own commitments. The security risk for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh is very high, he said.
11:40: Statement by Presidential Candidate Joe Biden on Nagorno-Karabakh:
Following the collapse of the ceasefire announced by Secretary of State Pompeo on October 25, a large-scale humanitarian disaster is looming for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, who have already suffered too much and need to have their security protected. After a month of fighting, it is long past time for President Trump to directly engage the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey to push for immediate de-escalation and stop the advance of Azerbaijani troops into Nagorno-Karabakh.
While he brags about his deal-making skills at campaign rallies, Trump has yet to get involved personally to stop this war. The administration must fully implement and not waive requirements under section 907 of the Freedom Support Act to stop the flow of military equipment to Azerbaijan, and call on Turkey and Russia to stop fueling the conflict with the supply of weapons and, in the case of Turkey, mercenaries. The United States should be leading a diplomatic effort to end the fighting, together with our European partners, and push for international humanitarian assistance to end the suffering; under my administration that is exactly what we will do.
Ceasefire of 26 October fails to hold. For the 3rd time #Azerbaijan incapable to respect its own commitments. Unreliable and deceiving political military regime in Baku carries on aggression against #Artsakh. Security risks for people of #NagornoKarabakh very high pic.twitter.com/FbvespqXX9— Zohrab Mnatsakanyan (@ZMnatsakanyan) October 28, 2020
Luxembourg to Provide €100,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross to Help Those Affected by the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
Le 🇱🇺 a mis à disposition 100.000€ au @CICR_fr pour ses activités dans le contexte du conflit dans le Haut-Karabakh. La présence de l'acteur neutre @CICR_fr est primordiale pour assister et protéger les milliers de personnes civiles vulnérables touchées par ce conflit.— MFA Luxembourg 🇱🇺 (@MFA_Lu) October 28, 2020
(c) @ICRC pic.twitter.com/Mv2di2uNjA
Motion Introduced in Canadian Senate to Recognize Artsakh
Senator Leo Housakos introduced a motion in the Senate of Canada calling for the recognition of the Republic of Artsakh and a permanent ban on arms sales to Turkey.
Glendale City Council Adopts Resolution Recognizing the Independence of the Republic of Artsakh
Glendale’s City Council adopted a resolution recognizing the independence of the Republic of Artsakh on October 27 and formally called upon the U.S. President and U.S. Congress to recognize the independence of the Republic of Artsakh for the purpose of bringing peace and stability to the Armenian Highlands Region (South Caucasus).
According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, the following municipalities and parliaments have passed a number of different resolutions including ones calling for the recognition of Artsakh, condemning Azerbaijan’s military aggression or condemning Turkey’s military rhetoric and involvement in the war, including also the involvement of mercenaries.
On October 1, the Chilean parliament passed a resolution condemning Azerbaijan's military aggression against the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.
🚨 #BREAKING: @SenatorHousakos just introduced a motion in the Senate of Canada calling for the recognition of the Republic of #Artsakh and for a permanent ban on arms sales to #Turkey. #ArtsakhStrong #RecognizeArtsakh @FP_Champagne @MichaelChongMP @sbergeron @JackHarrisNDP pic.twitter.com/Z8lZuYm9Cb— ANCC_CNAC (@ancc_cnac) October 27, 2020
On October 6, the Dutch parliament passed a resolution condemning Turkey's military rhetoric.
On October 7, the Geneva City Council passed a resolution condemning the aggression of Azerbaijan and recognizing the right of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to self-determination as the only guarantee of their security.
On October 8, the city council of Alfortville, France voted in favor of French recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh.
On October 8, the Basque Parliament adopted a declaration stating that the resolution of the issue should be based on the free expression of the will of the majority of the citizens of Nagorno-Karabakh.
On October 9, the Cypriot parliament adopted a resolution condemning Azerbaijan's aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh, condemning Turkey's involvement.
On October 13, the Belgian Flemish Parliament adopted a resolution condemning Azerbaijan and Turkey's hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh.
On October 14, the Austrian parliament passed a resolution condemning Turkey's involvement.
On October 15, the Luxembourg parliament passed a resolution condemning the military aggression of Azerbaijan and the support of Turkey, and condemning the involvement of mercenaries.
On October 15, the city council of the Italian city of Milan recognized the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.
On October 15, the city council of the French city of Limonest voted in favor of recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh's independence.
On October 19, the city council of the French city of Vienne adopted a resolution recognizing the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic."
On October 21, Fowler City Council in California recognized Artsakh's right to self-determination and independence, unanimously condemning Azerbaijan's aggression against Artsakh, and called on the U.S. President and Congress to join in supporting Artsakh's freedom.
On October 21, the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, Australia’s most-populous state, formally recognized the independence of the Artsakh Republic with 61 votes in favor. The parliamentarians also condemned the attacks by Azerbaijan and Turkey against the native Armenians of Artsakh.
On October 21, the Parliament of Catalonia issued a statement calling for an end to hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, condemning the attacks on civilians by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, and supporting constructive talks between the parties aimed at a peaceful settlement of the conflict, which should be based on the will of the majority of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.
On October 22, the city of Fort Lee, New Jersey condemned the aggression of Azerbaijan, and recognized the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination and the independence of the Artsakh Republic.
The Italian city of Cerchiara di Calabria recognized the independence of the Artsakh Republic.