Updates From Artsakh: Thirty Days of War

October 27

During a live address to the nation, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that it has now been a month since “Turkish-Azerbaijani-terrrorist forces launched a war against Artsakh and the Armenian people.” He said that thousands of rockets, missiles and drones have been fired on the Artsakh Defense Army and the civilian population. “The adversary has attacked using tanks, military jets and helicopters, Azerbaijanis, terrorists, mercenaries, Turkish and Pakistani special forces. A month ago, their objective was to quickly conquer Artsakh, to destroy Artsakh, and bring it to its knees. However, today, although wounded, Artsakh is standing and that is thanks to our heroic army, our heroic people, and the heroism of the individual.”

According to Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Defense Ministry, following the advancements of Azerbaijani forces in the south, a new battlefield has emerged along the Vorotan River. Hovhannisyan also said that Azerbaijani forces tried to launch an attack towards Berdzor and also tried to advance toward Armenia’s border in the south but were pushed back. He explained that the nature of the war has changed and accordingly the difficulty of the military operations has also changed. 

Here is a chronology of official updates.


9:20 a.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Ministry of Defense: The Artsakh-Azerbaijan conflict zone was relatively tense but calm overnight. Artillery shelling was continuous in certain positions. In the afternoon, Azerbaijani forces actively utilized UAVs, some of which were shot down by the air defense units of the Artsakh Defense Army.

Termination of the War Seems Distant for Now: Here Is Why

Ilham Aliyev’s gamble is doomed to fail. His risk calculation and management toolbox is inherently defective. The initial military advantage of his army had clear drivers which the Defense Army of Artsakh has now fully identified, unearthed and contextualized.

Localized battles are ongoing at certain positions of the front line. The Defense Army continues to maintain control over the situation.


9:23 a.m.: Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan announced that he has signed a decree, according to which Lieutenant General Jalal Harutyunyan was relieved of the position of Artsakh’s Minister of Defense and Commander of the Defense Army after he sustained injuries on the battlefield. In another decree, Major General Mikayel Arzumanyan was awarded the military rank of Lieutenant General and appointed as Artsakh’s Minister of Defense and Commander of the Defense Army.


9:47 a.m.: Vahram Poghosyan, the spokesperson of Artsakh’s President announced that the Azerbaijani media has shared false information about the death of Minister of Defense and Commander of the Defense Army Jalal Harutyunyan for the second time now. He said that Harutyunyan’s injuries sustained at one of the military positions are not serious and he will soon return to military duty.

Azerbaijani Forces Shell Positions of Armenian Border Guard Posts on Armenia's Southern Border With Iran

11:10 a.m.: Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan said that at around 10-10:15 a.m. today, Azerbaijani forces once again violated the ceasefire regime and shelled the positions of Armenian border guard posts on the southern border of the Republic of Armenia with Iran, using UAVs (one of which fell on the territory of Armenia) and missile artillery systems.

In response to yet another violation of the ceasefire regime and the shelling of the state border of Armenia, the Armenian Defense Ministry announced that it has no choice but to retaliate with response fire in the direction of Azerbaijani forces.


11:42 a.m.: Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan reports: There are no casualties or injuries resulting from the adversary’s shelling of the southern state border of the Republic of Armenia. The Armenian side has already launched retaliatory operations.


12:20 p.m: Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan reports: The adversary continued the shelling of Armenia's southern state border. There are injuries.


12:20 p.m.: Rafayel Vardanyan of the Investigative Committee said that 17 Armenian prisoners of war are currently in Azerbaijani captivity.


National Security Service Live Press Conference

12:30 p.m.: During a live press conference, Armen Abazyan, Deputy Director of the National Security Service (NSS), said that a hotline was set up at the beginning of the war. To date, they have received about 1,500 calls as well as 2,500 messages to their official Facebook Page. So far, the NSS has revealed a case of state treason and espionage by a former high-ranking military official who collected intelligence, including classified information from a number of military units, and transferred it to the Azerbaijani side. In another case, foreign nationals gathered information about the enlistment to the armed forces, military equipment and transportation movement.

Criminal cases have been launched and an investigation is ongoing. Abazyan noted that, since September 27, the NSS also uncovered cases where disinformation was spread among the servicemen on combat duty about the alleged handover of territory by Armenian officials. Also, since the beginning of the war, the number of cyber crimes against the state system has significantly increased and 692,000 such cases have been reported so far. As part of the preventative measures, the NSS has also detected 245 cases where disinformation was spread on social media platforms, aimed at creating panic.

Abazyan said that border troops of the NSS have been actively involved in the war. To date, 37 have been killed, 243 wounded and four others are missing.

Artur Melikyan, Deputy Head of the Special Investigative Service, said that 15 employees of the Service enlisted in the army as reservists, four others as volunteers. Also, over 150 investigators are currently being trained to also be enlisted with the Armed Forces. Melikyan said that, since September 27, 279 criminal cases were launched for various crimes.

Rafayel Vardanyan of the Investigative Committee presented evidence uncovered during the investigation of criminal cases launched so far, which prove that criminal acts committed by the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan were pre-planned and coordinated. He noted that the Azerbaijani offensive unleashed on September 27 was a logical continuation of the July escalation in Tavush. Vardanyan said that, from the end of July until August 10, Turkish forces were in Azerbaijan conducting military training for the servicemen in Azerbaijan. Also, before the military operations started, the Azerbaijani side placed missile and artillery systems close to densely-populated civilian settlements located close to the Artsakh-Azerbaijani border. Before as well as after the war, Azerbaijani Armed Forces have been equipped from Israel, Turkey, Czech Republic, Belarus, etc.

Vardanyan also showed part of an interrogation with an Azerbaijani soldier Emin Bakhshaliyev, who is in captivity in Armenia. In the video, Bakhshaliyev says that he is being taken care of and is kept in good conditions. He also said that Turkish Special Forces were in Azerbaijan and conducted military training for the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. The training was conducted so that Azerbaijani forces could acquire combat skills necessary for military operations in mountainous conditions. Emin also said that they were told to be ready for a war. Vardanyan said that the Investigative Committee is also looking into all the cases where civilian settlements and population, cultural sites as well as journalists, were intentionally targeted by the Azerbaijani forces.


12:57 p.m.: Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan reports: To restrain encroachments of Azerbaijani forces in the southern direction of Armenia's state border, Armenian border guards undertook preventative operations. Azerbaijani forces sustained significant losses. The adversary is employing UAV technology in the given direction.


1 p.m.: The Artsakh Defense Ministry has published the names of 35 Armenian servicemen killed in battle.

Baghdishyan, Gevorg [Stepani], b. 2000

Muradyan, Harut [Friki], b. 2000

Khorenyan, Sevak [Sureni], b. 1987

Hakobyan, Hayk [Ararati], b. 1996

Hovhannisyan, Hovik [Karapeti], b. 1984

Avetisyan, Shaliko [Sedraki], b. 1980

Ghazaryan, Hayk [Edvardi], b. 1989 (reservist)

Kartashyan, Gevorg [Nshani], b.1984 (reservist)

Sargsyan, Gegham [Ashoti], b. 1992 (reservist)

Sargsyan, Vahagn [Andraniki], b. 1986 (reservist)

Grigoryan, Grigor [Hayki], b. 2002

Vardanyan, Mushegh [Mheri], b. 2001

Khachatryan, Arman [Arseni], b. 1993 (volunteer)

Petrosyan, Hovhannes [Andraniki], b. 1996 (volunteer)

Manyan, Ararat [Armeni], b. 2002 

Avetyan, Karen [Gagiki], b. 2000

Manasyan, Andranik [Kamoyi], b. 2002

Mnatsakanyan, Davit [Armeni], b. 2001

Asatryan, Marsel [Khachiki], b. 2000

Galstyan, Erik [Emili], b. 2001

Sinanyan, Sasun [Geghami], b. 2002

Makaryan, Ararat [Asaturi], b. 2002

Manoyan, Levon [Andraniki], b. 2001

Yesayan, Karen [Petrosi], b. 2000

Vardanyan, Artyom [Vardani], b. 2002

Khachatryan, Valeri [Davti], b. 2001

Petrosyan, Hakob [Sureni], b. 2000

Arakelyan, Arman [Hoviki], b. 2002

Gyulamiryan, Aram [Armani], b. 2001

Sargsyan, Levon [Arami], b. 2001

Vlasyan, Albert [Arturi], b. 2001 

Musinyan, Borik [Sureni], b. 2001

Chakryan, Davit [Artyomi], b. 2001

Archunts, Arman [Artushi], b. 2001

Avagyan, Karen [Noriki], b. 2001


6:20 p.m.: According to Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan: The Azerbaijani statement that the Barda region has been targeted from the territory of the Republic of Armenia is a complete lie and a provocation. Neither the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia, nor the Artsakh Defense Army have launched any artillery in the mentioned direction.


Secretary of State Pompeo: There Is No Military Solution to This Conflict

6:30 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks with Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Aliyev. The following is a statement issued by his office.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev separately. Secretary Pompeo pressed the leaders to abide by their commitments to cease hostilities and pursue a diplomatic solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, and noted that there is no military solution to this conflict. The Secretary stressed the importance of fully implementing the ceasefire agreed in Moscow on October 10 and reaffirmed in the statement issued from Paris on October 17, in accordance with the October 1, 2020 joint statement of United States President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Three Civilians Wounded Following Azerbaijani Strike in the Martuni Region

7:05 p.m.: The Human Rights Defender’s Office of Artsakh issued the following statement: Azerbaijan continues to strike peaceful settlements in Artsakh. According to verified information, this afternoon, Azerbaijan forces utilizing the Smerch multiple rocket launcher (which delivers banned cluster bombs) targeted the residential areas of the village of Nngi in the Martuni region where many civilians, temporarily displaced from a number of other communities, had taken refuge. As a result of the strike, three women were wounded, one house was completely destroyed, other houses and infrastructure of the community were also damaged to varying degrees.

Considering that there are no military objects near the community, as well as using a prohibited wide-range cluster missile in a densely populated area, it is clear that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces had criminal intent to target the civilian population and infrastructure. The Human Rights Ombudsman calls on the international community and human rights organizations to take immediate steps to properly respond to and stop Azerbaijani atrocities against the people of Artsakh.


Parliament Amends Martial Law

7:30 p.m.: The National Assembly passed a draft bill (71 MPs in favor) making changes to the martial law enabling legislation. According to the proposed amendments, the Parliament completed the procedure that will allow the state to use the property of individuals and legal entities if the state does not have the needed property. The property should be assessed and a number of other circumstances should be considered, including the specific situation, urgency and the location of the property.

The state should present relevant justifications to the owner of the property about the procedure and if the owner does not voluntarily hand in the needed property to the state, then the property can be confiscated. After the period of martial law ends, the property will be returned to the owner. The law also stipulates the amount of compensation that can be provided to the owner.


Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan Addresses the Nation

9 p.m.: During a live address to the nation, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said [unofficial translation]:

It has already been a month since the Turkish-Azerbaijani-terrrorist forces launched a war against Artsakh and the Armenian people.

Thousands of rockets, missiles and drones have been fired on the Artsakh Defense Army and the civilian population.

The adversary has attacked using tanks, military jets and helicopters, Azerbaijanis, terrorists, mercenaries, Turkish and Pakistani special forces.

A month ago, their objective was to quickly conquer Artsakh, to destroy Artsakh, and bring it to its knees.

However, today, although wounded, Artsakh is standing and that is thanks to our heroic army, our heroic people, and the heroism of the individual.

This cruel but heroic process gives us confidence. Artsakh will stand because our spirit is unbreakable, our will is unshakeable.

The war has entered a stage when every continuous second of it impedes the adversary that has treacherously violated the ceasefire every time, and shatters its illusions.

The military-political leadership of Azerbaijan has fed its own people with so much news about their victories, that they have been waiting, for a long time now, every day every minute, every second, for the news of the fall of Artsakh, for their final and irreversible victory.

But the Azerbaijani people will never hear that news and it is in the endless anticipation of that news that Azerbaijan's plans to conquer Artsakh will crumble.

The people of Artsakh, the Armenian people, the entire nation will fight unreservedly for every tree, every rock, for every centimeter and every millimeter. And the effect of the precision blow that will be delivered at the right moment will be the devastating collapse of the adversary.

The task set before the Artsakh Defense Army is to ripen that moment and we should support the Republic of Artsakh, the Defense Army, have their back.

To resolve the issues noted above, we need complete national consolidation of forces and discipline. Under emergency state laws and more so at times of war, the prerogative should be to carry out orders without any hesitation and discussion. Those who decline to follow orders, those who try to shake the will to carry out orders should be subject to the strictest punishment and held publicly accountable.

There should not be anything that would serve as an excuse for them because the fate of the motherland and the nation is at stake. We cannot permit the loss of Artsakh or the depopulation of its Armenian residents.

I’m aware that my address yesterday has given way to many contradictory evaluations. To be honest, I’m happy about that. My address had two goals. To show the international community the constructive approach of the Amrenian side and the unreserved resolve of the Armenian nation to fight for the rights of Artsakh.

Both these tasks are completely performed, in a slightly unusual but in a quite effective way. I want to thank all of you for your perseverance.

Our task is to turn the energy that was generated as a result of yesterday’s address into a concrete action. All for the sake of Artsakh, everything for the sake of Artsakh. This is the logic that should be at work these days. During these days, the entire public administration system is working towards eliminating organizational gaps and increasing the efficiency of each segment.

Our capabilities are limited but the Artsakh Defense Army has enough weapons and potential to solve the problems set before it. Yes, we have many enemies in the world but we also have friends who stand and will stand next to us in difficult times. The grateful Armenian nation will never forget that. We will never forget.

And especially against this backdrop, we have to strengthen our will, consolidate our will, nurture our determination and dedication, to substantiate our decision to protect the right to self-determination of our nation and the Armenians of Artsakh.

This war must become an absolute and irreplaceable priority for each of us and we will win.

This war has significantly changed the perception of the Karabakh conflict in the world. The main international actors now accept and openly declare that Azerbaijan and Turkey are the aggressors. The presence of terrorists and mercenaries fighting for the Azerbaijani side is already a proven fact in the world.

This has become possible also thanks to our correct diplomatic efforts and constructive public emphasis. Those show that Azerbaijan is not ready to compromise, has never been and is not now. This fact internationally legitimizes the right of the Armenian people to fight to the end, to shape and enjoy victories.

Let’s agree to not be afraid of anything. We will not allow any internal or external force to plant the seeds of doubt in our free and happy future. We will not be discouraged even from our mistakes, omissions, failures.

All this will not change our strategy, because:

We have been defeated, defeated many times,

And we have seen the smirk of deception,

But our will is stronger than stone,

Our spirit does not know how to surrender.

And you, the Armenian people, are the winners. Go and claim your victory, stand up and construct your victory. And rest assured that the government has not for one minute, for one second deviated nor will it deviate from its responsibility of showing you this victorious path.


Ministry of Defense Live Press Briefing

10 p.m.: During a live press briefing, Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Ministry of Defense said that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces resumed their offensive in different directions in the early morning. At the same time, a number of civilian settlements were shelled. The military operations continued in the north but were less intense. Armenian forces continue detecting subversive groups in a number of communities as well as in the surrounding forests. Following the advancements of the Azerbaijani forces in the south, along the Vorotan River a new battlefield has been formed. Hovhannisyan said that Azerbaijani forces today tried to launch an attack towards Berdzor as well as tried to approach the Armenian borders in the south but they were pushed back. Although they used UAVs and artillery, they did not register any success. The fighting against subversive groups continues. As a rule, they approach villages in small groups, carrying light weapons and retreat following the counter-attacks of the Armenian units. Though the military operations against those groups are not tense, they continue 24 hours a day. As you can see on the map, after Azerbaijani forces registered some success in the valleys, they, along with the mercenaries of international terrorist groups are also trying to advance in the mountainous and forest areas, which Azerbaijani forces are unable to fulfill easily.

During his final remarks, Hovhannisyan said that the nature of the war has changed and accordingly the tempo and the difficulty of the military operations have also changed. He noted that the Armenian side has neutralized several subversive groups today, some of which retreated and left military equipment behind them. Hovhannisyan went on to say that this war has a certain difficulty - the enemy has certainly lost a huge quantitative and technological advantage due to the terrain and the professional skills and experience of the Armenian side. He said that, since the war is developing in different dynamics, the Armenian side cannot report on every operation.

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Russian President Has Telephone Conversation With Turkish President

President Vladimir Putin and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the developments of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The Russian side expressed deep concern over the ongoing hostilities, as well as the increasingly large-scale involvement of terrorists from the Middle East in clashes. Vladimir Putin informed his Turkish counterpart of the contacts with the leaderships of Azerbaijan and Armenia and the steps being taken towards the de-escalation of the crisis.


Foreign Ministers of Russia and Turkey Discuss Situation in Nagorno-Karabakh

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu. The ministers spoke about the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh and the need for a ceasefire that will be sustainable between Armenia and Azerbaijan. According to the Russian MFA website, “Both ministers stressed that there is no alternative to a peaceful resolution to the problem, and called for an immediate ceasefire and resumption of negotiations through the established OSCE Minsk Group mechanisms. The sides specifically noted that internationalizing the crisis through the involvement of foreign fighters was unacceptable.”

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