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Live updates: Day 33 of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh

29 October 2020

Fighting is continuing for the 33rd day over Nagorno-Karabakh, despite a third ceasefire being agreed.

[The news as it happened: 27 September, 28 September, 29 September, 30 September, 1 October, 2 October, 3 October, 4 October, 5 October, 6 October, 7 October, 8 October, 9 October, 10 October, 11 October, 12 October, 13 October, 14 October, 15 October, 16 October, 17 October, 18 October, 19 October, 20 October, 21 October, 22 October, 23 October, 24 October, 25 October, 26 October, October 27, October 28]

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 For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.

29 Oct 2020, 21:04

US Embassy issues new travel advisory for Armenia

The US Embassy in Armenia has advised US citizens to avoid travel to:

  • Tavush province east of the M4 and M16 Highways north of the Dilijan National Park and up to the border with Georgia.
  • Gegharkunik province east and south of Lake Sevan and east of the M10 Highway.
  • All of Ararat, Vayots Dzor, and Syunik provinces.

29 Oct 2020, 19:45

Nagorno-Karabakh Head: Azerbaijani army is 5 km away from Shusha (Shushi)

Arayik Harutyunyan, the president of Nagorno-Karabakh, has addressed Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, urging them to stand for the protection of Shusha (Shushi). 

He has said that the Azerbaijani army is ‘5 km away’ from the city. 

‘Today, at this crucial historical moment, when Turkish-Azerbaijani and terrorist gangs attacked Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) with all their military resources, aim to exterminate or expel the Artsakh Armenians who have been living in their homeland for thousands of years. We are fighting to the death in unequal conditions in all respects.’

‘Now they threaten our homeland and existence not only along the frontline, but have also invested serious military resources towards Shushi, aiming at all costs at the proud Armenian fortress’ 

‘Shushi is not just a city, it is a symbol of the determination of the Armenian people to live in their own cradle, a symbol of the victories of the Armenian people. Shushi is the beating heart of all Armenians’, he said. 

29 Oct 2020, 19:13

ECHR will review Azerbaijani request against Armenia 

The European Court of Human Rights will review a request by Azerbaijan for interim measures against Armenia. 

The Azerbaijani Government requested that the court order the Armenian Government:

  • ‘To stop shell and missile attacks, from its territory and the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan, on residential areas, public premises, cemeteries and other civil infrastructure in the territory of Azerbaijan’ 
  • ‘To stop military, political, financial and other support to criminal “authorities” on the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan’ 
  • ‘To stop sending its armed forces, military equipment and so-called “volunteers” — in fact mercenaries — to the sovereign territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and refrain from inviting its and foreign nationals on the territory of Azerbaijan’ 
  • ‘To withdraw its armed forces and militants illegally stationed on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan;’ 
  • ‘To refrain from pursuing the policy of hatred towards the Republic of Azerbaijan and its nationals.’

29 Oct 2020, 18:18

Armenia ‘expresses readiness’ to hand over bodies of Azerbaijani servicemen

Shushan Stepanyan, a spokesperson of Armenian Ministry of Defence, has stated that Armenia ‘expresses its readiness’ to hand over the bodies of Azerbaijani servicemen to Azerbaijan, to remove bodies from no man’s land, as well as to exchange information on prisoners of war and later exchange them. 

Stepanyan confirmed that the bodies of thirty Armenian servicemen killed during the fighting had been handed over to Armenia. 

‘At the same time, one civilian was returned to Armenia through the ICRC’, she said.

29 Oct 2020, 18:14

Armenia: Martakert attacked from the air

Shushan Stepanyan, a spokesperson for Armenian Ministry of Defense, has stated that Azerbaijani forces employed military aviation against the city of Martakert (Aghdara). 

Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry denied the claim calling it ‘disinformation’. 

‘Today not a single aircraft of the Air Force of Azerbaijan has taken to the air’, they stated. 

29 Oct 2020, 17:47

Diplomats under fire on the frontline

Wargonzo has reported that a Belgian MP came under fire while in Stepanakert. 

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence stated that during a visit to Tartar, the heads of the diplomatic corps in Azerbaijan, ambassadors, military attachés and state officials of international organisations in the country also came under ‘deliberate’ fire from Armenian forces.

29 Oct 2020, 17:01

Hackers target OC Media with brute force attack

A cyberattack against OC Media briefly took the website offline on Thursday. For several hours the site was unreachable after being flooded with thousands of failed login attempts.

The editor-in-chief of OC Media’s English-language service, Robin Fabbro, said the timing of the attack suggested it was almost certainly connected with the war.

Read the full story: Hackers target OC Media with brute force attack.

29 Oct 2020, 14:19

Nagorno-Karabakh Army publishes list of ‘legitimate military targets’ in Ganja and Barda

The Defence Army of Nagorno-Karabakh has published a list of ‘legitimate military targets’ located in the Azerbaijani cities of Ganja and Barda.

Both cities have been hit during the past month resulting in dozens of deaths and almost 200 injuries. 

After yesterday’s attack on Barda, Armenia’s Defense Ministry denied claims by Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry that Smerch rockets were used against the city.

29 Oct 2020, 14:05

Azerbaijan transfers remains of fallen Armenian soldiers

Hikmat Hajiyev, an Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan, has announced that the bodies of several Armenian soldiers have been handed over to the other side, as well as two elderly Armenian civilians.

‘We appreciate the efforts of the Russian Defense Ministry and personally Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in this process. As a result of Russia’s support for this humanitarian initiative, the Armenian side agreed to open a humanitarian corridor in the direction of Gazakh-Tovuz and to receive the bodies of its soldiers. The process has just ended today’, he said.

29 Oct 2020, 13:37

Baku proposes postponing Geneva meeting 

Leyla Abdullayeva, a spokesperson for Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has told the Turan news agency that Azerbaijan has proposed postponing a meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers scheduled for today in Geneva until tomorrow.

‘Now we are awaiting confirmation from the co-chairs’, she said.

Abdullayeva added that the meeting of the two ministers in Geneva was not ‘originally envisaged’.

‘In Geneva, only a meeting with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group is envisaged’, she concluded.

29 Oct 2020, 12:47

Aliyev dares Armenia to recognise Nagorno-Karabakh ‘today’

In his interview with Russia’s Interfax news agency, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that Armenia while ‘not recognising Nagorno-Karabakh themselves’ wants other countries to do so.

‘And their constant blackmail and threats that in case of aggravation they would recognise Nagorno-Karabakh turned out to be a bluff again. The military confrontation has been going on for more than a month, why have they still not recognised Nagorno-Karabakh? It's very easy to do — let them declare that they recognise it’, he said. 

He added that Azerbaijan would immediately sever diplomatic relations with any country that did so. 

‘My appeal to them [Armenia] — recognise Nagorno-Karabakh, recognise it today. By the way, I spoke about this relatively recently. Let it be recognised today, but asking countries to do this again speaks of the inadequacy of the Armenian leadership and very low political literacy’.

He said that the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan was ‘recognised by the whole world as a well-known fact’, when Azerbaijan joined the UN ‘within the framework of a single state with Nagorno-Karabakh’, and within other international structures.

‘No one will simply agree to this, especially when they [Armenia] themselves do not recognise, and even more so when they are the aggressors in accordance with the realities on Earth, and in accordance with UN resolutions. Therefore, this is a very unworthy attempt to “enter paradise on someone else’s hump”.’

29 Oct 2020, 11:37

Joe Biden: US government must end aid to Azerbaijan

In a statement published on his official campaign website, US Presidential candidate Joe Biden has called on the Trump administration to halt all military aid to Azerbaijan by no longer waiving section 907 of the Freedom Support Act. 

Section 907 stipulates that the United States not give any assistance to Azerbaijan ‘until the Government of Azerbaijan is taking demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh’.

He also called on Russia and Turkey ‘to stop fueling the conflict with the supply of weapons and, in the case of Turkey, mercenaries’.

29 Oct 2020, 11:28

Aliyev: ‘In Geneva Azerbaijan will raise the issue of liberation of Kalbajar, Lachin, and Aghdam’

In an interview with Russia’s Interfax news agency, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that at today’s meeting of foreign ministers in Geneva, the issue of the ‘liberation’ of Kalbajar, Lachin, and Aghdam districts will be raised. 

‘The issue of returning to Azerbaijan the five regions around Nagorno-Karabakh (Jabrayil, Fizuli, Zangilan, Gubadli and Aghdam regions) is no longer relevant. We have practically completed the first stage, and therefore, if now the Armenian side expresses its adherence to the basic principles, we will immediately talk about transferring the Lachin and Kalbajar (Karvachar) regions and parts of the Aghdam regions, which are under occupation, to Azerbaijani control’, he said.

He said that Armenia should return not only the seven districts surrounding the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, but also Shusha (Shushi), Stepanakert, and ‘other territories which were populated with Azerbaijanis throughout centuries’, where they would live together with Armenians.

‘We need to receive from the Armenian side, from the person at the top of the leadership, obligations to withdraw troops from the occupied territories. We haven't heard that yet. As soon as this commitment is taken by the Armenian leadership, and as soon as it is confirmed and approved by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, we are ready to stop military actions immediately. Provided that the Armenian side also stops them, because all three violations of the truce are from the Armenian side’.

29 Oct 2020, 10:50

Foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan to meet today

Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Jeyhun Bayramov will meet today in Geneva along with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group to discuss the steps necessary for a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. 

29 Oct 2020, 10:30

Shelling reported by both sides on the morning of the 33rd day

Armenian Defence Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan has accused Azerbaijan of hitting Stepanakert with Smerch multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) at around 08.03 this morning. 

‘A residential house and a car were destroyed, another nearby building collapsed from the strike’, she wrote. 

She said that the owner of the house and a neighbour were injured and were transported to a hospital. 

Azerbaijan’s defence ministry accused Armenia of shelling Goranboy and Tartar at 09:25. 

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