Below is a press statement from the ANC-UK on the latest developments in Artsakh:
In the early hours of Sunday 27th September, the armed forces of Azerbaijan launched airstrikes against civilian targets in Artsakh, including the capital, Stepanakert. Artsakh’s presidential spokesperson, Vahram Poghosyan, confirmed yesterday that Azerbaijani artillery attacks were launched along the entire border separating Artsakh and Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani forces have been targeting civilians, attacking and bombing the towns of Stepanakert, Askeran, Martakert, Martuni, Hadrut and Shushi, where families have been advised to take shelter by their government. Artsakh’s Deputy Defence Minister reported that at least 67 people have died so far, with more than 450 people injured as 28th September. The office of the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Artsakh has confirmed that some schools were also damaged in the attacks and they concluded that the Azerbaijani armed forces are specifically targeting civilians, which is in direct violation of international humanitarian law.
It is reported that Azerbaijan is using a variety of weapons on the ground and by air including tanks, helicopters, UAVs and multiple launch rocket systems, such as Grad and Smerch. Moreover, F16 Turkish fighters were seen in the targeted regions. The town of Vardenis, which is situated to the east of Armenia, has been also been subjected to Turkish-made UAV attacks.
The latest eruption of violence is of no surprise to regional stakeholders: Azerbaijan has never hidden its strategic goal to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by using military force. On a number of occasions Azerbaijan’s President, Ilham Aliyev, has publicly denounced the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group, which aims to resolve the conflict through a peaceful resolution. What is more alarming about the latest premeditated attacks is the active support that Azerbaijan is receiving from Turkey, whose growing presence in Azerbaijan, particularly in the region of Nakhichevan is of great concern, risking an escalation into a larger regional conflict.
It is believed that Azerbaijan has been gearing up towards a full-blown war since the flare-up in July. It was reported that:
The ANC UK strongly condemns the aggression launched by Azerbaijan against the Republic of Artsakh. These attacks violate the 1994 trilateral ceasefire agreement signed between Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan and Armenia, and the commitments undertaken by Azerbaijan on the peaceful resolution of this long-running conflict.
The ANC UK supports Artsakh’s desire for self-determination, which is also in accordance with the UN Charter, and therefore urge the international community to condemn Azerbaijan’s latest violent and unprovoked aggressions. We also call upon the U.K. government to recognise the Republic of Artsakh so that we can start a process of reconciliation.
As a resident of the United Kingdom, you are not powerless to make a change. You can take the following actions to make a difference:
Together, we can affect change for the better and fight for peace and stability in Armenia and Artsakh.
Chairman of the ANC-UK (Armenian National Committee of the United Kingdom)