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Live updates: Day 35 of Nagorno-Karabakh fighting

31 October 2020

Fighting is continuing for the 35th 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, October 29, October 30]

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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.

04 Dec 2021, 15:39

In Al Arabiya interview Pashinyan calls for remedial secession of Nagorno-Karabakh

In an interview with Al Arabiya Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called for Nagorno-Karabakh’s remedial secession — the right to self-determination due to the violations of human rights of a group of people. 

He said that Azerbaijan's statements about the ‘liberation’ of Nagorno-Karabakh equates to a desire to see the region without its Armenian population.  

‘That word [liberation] must be translated: it means liberating Karabakh from the Armenians, which is a direct threat of genocide’, the Armenian Prime Minister said. ‘This is why we believe that especially now the principle of “remedial secession” should be applied to Nagorno-Karabakh.’

The Armenian Prime Minister added that ‘it is obvious to everyone’ that the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh ‘cannot survive within Azerbaijan’. 

‘The fact that terrorists and terrorist methods are being used against Nagorno-Karabakh comes to reaffirm the Nagorno-Karabakh’s right to independence, which is described in international law as “remedial secession.”’

04 Dec 2021, 15:39

Azerbaijan and Armenia report shelling of civilian areas

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence has reported that Armenian forces are ‘subjecting to artillery fire’ the city of Tartar, the settlement of Shikharkh and the village of Eskipara in the Tartar district, as well as the Giyameddinli village in the Aghjabadi district.

Meanwhile, the State Service for Emergency Situations of Nagorno-Karabakh has stated that  Azerbaijani Army ‘continued firing at peaceful settlements’, including Martuni (Khojavand), Martakert (Aghdara), Stepanakert (Khankandi), and Shusha (Shushi) today.  

04 Dec 2021, 15:39

Aliyev: Azerbaijan has taken ‘almost’ full control of five districts around Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in an interview with German ARD TV claimed that Azerbaijan has taken nearly full control of five districts around Nagorno-Karabakh. 

‘We always suggested, we always recommitted to a peace plan, so called basic principles, which provided the liberation of occupied territories of Azerbaijan in phases. At the first stage - five, at the second stage - two. But now among those five, almost all of them have already been liberated’, the Azerbaijani president said.

04 Dec 2021, 15:39

US National Security Adviser calls for Scandanavian peacekeepers to be deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh

Speaking yesterday in Los Angeles, US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien stated that it is ‘hard to envision long-term ceasefire or settlement that does not involve multinational armed peacekeeping forces or observers’, adding that ‘any peacekeeping force should not include Minsk Group co-chairs, including the US, or neighboring countries’. 

He emphasised that ‘any sort of Turkish mediation or peacekeeping role is a non-starter for the US as well as for Armenia’. 

‘We believe that both parties should accept Scandinavian peacekeepers and we're working with Scandinavian governments to put together a peacekeeping force that could be deployed into the region to keep a ceasefire’, he said. 

He called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to agree to a ceasefire without preconditions.  ‘This is particularly true of the Azerbaijanis who have been the most hesitant about an unconditional ceasefire today’, he said. 

He also called for ‘difficult compromises’ from ‘both sides’ as ‘defending the same maximalist positions held for the last 25 years, will not bring peace.’

31 Oct 2020, 17:20

Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of using white phosphorus in Nagorno-Karabakh

Following Armenia’s claim of Azerbaijani use of banned white phosphorus munitions in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijani Presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev has said that it was Armenian forces who deployed them. The Azerbaijani Defence Ministry has previously denied having ‘banned weapons’ in their possession. 

‘Armenia by use of phosphorus caused fire in Shusha (Shushi) forests. By these means they try to create white smoke and hinder vision of drones used by Azerbaijan's armed forces’, he wrote on Twitter

31 Oct 2020, 17:14

Azerbaijan and Armenia report shelling of civilian areas

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence has reported that Armenian forces are ‘subjecting to artillery fire’ the city of Tartar, the settlement of Shikharkh and the village of Eskipara in the Tartar district, as well as the Giyameddinli village in the Aghjabadi district.

Meanwhile, the State Service for Emergency Situations of Nagorno-Karabakh has stated that  Azerbaijani Army ‘continued firing at peaceful settlements’, including Martuni (Khojavand), Martakert (Aghdara), Stepanakert (Khankandi), and Shusha (Shushi) today.  

31 Oct 2020, 15:35

Elderly Armenian woman transferred from Azerbaijan to Armenia describes torture and executions 

Yesterday, Armenia’s Investigation Committee published a video featuring 85-year-old Evgeniya Babayan, a resident of the city of Hadrut in Nagorno Karabakh, in which the woman described the torture and execution of Armenian prisoners held by Azerbaijan.  

Babayan was transferred from Azerbaijan to Armenia by the International Committee for the Red Cross on 30 October. 

In the video, Babayan describes how she was taken captive by Azerbaijani militaries on 16 October and brought to Baku, where she was transferred between three separate police stations. She said that, in these police stations she witnessed Azerbaijani police abuse and kill Armenian prisoners. 

She said that the Armenian prisoners were forced to criticize Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on camera and that those who refused to do so, were severely beaten. She also said she witnessed officers break the arms of an elderly Armenian man and severely beat a younger man. She said that both men executed afterwards.

She said that personally she was ‘treated like a dog’. 

Hikmet Hajiyev, Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan, has said in an interview with Russian Ria Novosti that Babayan came under ‘psychological pressure’ in Armenia. 

In the interview, Hajiyev said that in the video Babayan ‘is forced to comment on a previously recorded text’.  

He said that Babayan ‘who was left on the battlefield by the Armenian armed forces and needed help, received all the necessary medical care, humane treatment and support from Azerbaijan’. 

31 Oct 2020, 15:29

Aliyev: Azerbaijan has taken ‘almost’ full control of five districts around Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in an interview with German ARD TV claimed that Azerbaijan has taken nearly full control of five districts around Nagorno-Karabakh. 

‘We always suggested, we always recommitted to a peace plan, so-called basic principles, which provided the liberation of occupied territories of Azerbaijan in phases. At the first stage - five, at the second stage - two. But now among those five, almost all of them have already been liberated’, the Azerbaijani president said. 

31 Oct 2020, 14:28

US National Security Adviser calls for Scandanavian peacekeepers to be deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh.

Speaking yesterday in Los Angeles, US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien stated that it is ‘hard to envision long-term ceasefire or settlement that does not involve multinational armed peacekeeping forces or observers’, adding that ‘any peacekeeping force should not include Minsk Group co-chairs, including the US, or neighbouring countries’. 

He emphasised that ‘any sort of Turkish mediation or peacekeeping role is a non-starter for the US as well as for Armenia’. 

‘We believe that both parties should accept Scandinavian peacekeepers and we're working with Scandinavian governments to put together a peacekeeping force that could be deployed into the region to keep a ceasefire’, he said. 

He called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to agree to a ceasefire without preconditions.  ‘This is particularly true of the Azerbaijanis who have been the most hesitant about an unconditional ceasefire today’, he said. 

He also called for ‘difficult compromises’ from ‘both sides’ as ‘defending the same maximalist positions held for the last 25 years, will not bring peace.’

31 Oct 2020, 12:49

Russia will provide ‘all necessary assistance’ if ‘clashes transfer to territory of Armenia’

TASS reports that, responding to Nikol Pashinyan’s letter to Vladimir Putin from earlier today, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that ‘Moscow will provide Yerevan with all the necessary assistance in accordance with the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the two countries, if the clashes are transferred directly to the territory of Armenia’.

31 Oct 2020, 12:29

Armenia reports shelling of Shusha

Shushan Stepanyan, a spokesperson for the Armenian Ministry of Defence, has stated that ‘violating the agreements reached in Geneva’, the Azerbaijani military has shelled the city of Shusha (Shushi). 

‘There are reports about wounded among the peaceful civilians’, she said. 

Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence denied the allegations calling them ‘another lie’ ‘targeted to aggravate the situation’. 

‘We declare once again that the Azerbaijan Army Units inflicts retaliatory strikes only on the enemy’s firing points’, they stated. 

31 Oct 2020, 12:20

Nikol Pashinyan requests Russian aid

Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin requesting ‘immediate consultations to determine the type of assistance that the Russian Federation can provide to the Republic of Armenia’. 

The request cites ‘the allied relations between Armenia and Russia in 1997 Article 2 of the Agreement on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance of August 29, 2006’.

In the letter Pashinyan also highlighted the ‘situation created by the Azeri-Turkish military aggression against Nagorno Karabakh and the challenges that have arisen’, and ‘stressed’ the involvement of ‘foreign armed terrorists were transferred from the Middle East’. 

31 Oct 2020, 11:37

Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of using white phosphorus

Armenia’s Human Rights Defender, Arman Tatoyan, has accused Azerbaijan’s military of using banned white phosphorus munitions. Undated video shared online yesterday appears to show some sort of incendiary munition being used over Nagorno-Karabakh. 

31 Oct 2020, 11:03

Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to several humanitarian measures 

After six hours of negotiations in Geneva yesterday, Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov agreed to several measures:

  • The sides will not deliberately target civilian populations or non-military objects in accordance with international humanitarian law; 
  • The sides will actively engage in the implementation of the recovery and exchange of remains on the battlefield by providing the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) and PRCiO (Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson in Office) the necessary safety guarantees for facilitation; 
  • The sides will deliver to the ICRC and PRCiO, within one week, a list of currently detained prisoners of war for the purposes of providing access and eventual exchange;
  • The sides will provide in writing comments and questions related to possible ceasefire verification mechanisms in accordance with item 2 of the October 10 joint statement.

The statement released by the OSCE also notes that ‘the sides engaged in an open and substantive exchange of views aimed at clarifying their negotiating positions on core elements of a comprehensive solution in accordance with item 3 of the October 10 joint statement’.

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