For Immediate Release
Contact: Annette Moskofian
ANC-UK Press Release – 28th September 2020
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:
- Azerbaijan closed down their air transit corridors for the last two months despite the absence of any threat along the state lines of Armenia and Artsakh
- Meanwhile, Turkey and Azerbaijan have been carrying out joint military exercises along their borders
- Azerbaijan started drafting reservists and confiscating civilian trucks for military needs early last week
- On 25thSeptember, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence rejected the request of the OSCE Permanent Representative to organise a Ceasefire Monitoring exercise along the line of contact
- There have been credible reports from local media that Azerbaijan has been actively recruiting mercenaries, Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs), from parts of Syria thatare under the control of Turkey’s military so they can be used in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
- The Azerbaijani authorities blocked social networks and media outlets ahead of the attacks yesterday morning, onlyallowing citizens to access Twitter. Furthermore, Turkey’s media were on the ground reporting on the violence within minutes of their attacks thus supporting the fact that this was a pre-meditated
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:
- Write to your local MP and let them know that the UK must take action against Azerbaijan’s aggression by clicking on the following link: https://ancuk.org.uk/take-action/write-to-your-mp/
- Please encourage friends and family to join you in taking action by visiting http://ancuk.org.uk/take-action/write-to-your-mp/
- Repost posts from the ANC-UK’s social media pages to raise awareness on what is taking place in Artsakh (Instagram @armenian_national_committee_uk, Facebook @armeniannationalcommitteeuk, Twitter @ANCUK_org)
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)