Tag Archives: Armenia

Protest rocks Armenia in demand for PM’s resignation.

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Fresh fighting erupted over the region in late September with Azerbaijani forces backed by ally Turkey making steady gains.

Several thousand opposition supporters marched through the capital of Armenia on Friday to demand Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation over his handling of last year’s war with Azerbaijan which many see as a national humiliation.

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Columns of people angry with the prime minister flooded the streets of central Yerevan, waving Armenian flags and chanting anti-government slogans, hours before a planned meeting with the ex-Soviet country’s president.

Former Prime Minister Vazgen Manukyan, who has been put forward by the opposition to replace Pashinyan, called on all Armenians to join the protest.

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“The people must take to the street and express their will so that we can avoid bloodshed and turmoil,” he said at the rally.

“Either we get rid of them,” Manukyan said, referring to Pashinyan and his allies who control parliament, “or we will lose Armenia.”

The small South Caucasus nation plunged Thursday into a fresh political crisis as Pashinyan defied calls to resign, accused the military of an attempted coup and rallied some 20,000 supporters in Yerevan.

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But the opposition gathered some 10,000 of its own supporters, who erected barricades and set up tents and stoves outside the parliament building and vowed to hold round-the-clock demonstrations.

The crisis spilled into a second day after Pashinyan’s critics spent the night, then blocked streets near the parliament building in preparation for Friday’s rally.

The march led them to the presidency and then to the prime minister’s residence, ahead of a meeting with President Armen Sarkisian at 15:40 local time (1140 GMT).

War with Azerbaijan
A leader of the opposition Dashnaktsutyun party, Gegham Manukyan, told reporters that opposition parties would only speak with Pashinyan about “his resignation.”

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Pashinyan has said he is ready to start talks with the opposition to defuse tensions, but also threatened to arrest any opponents if they violate the law.

France on Friday urged talks based on the legitimacy of President Armen Sarkisian, who holds a largely ceremonial role but has vowed to resolve this crisis peacefully, and Pashinyan himself.

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“France would like that a dialogue takes hold in this country,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said after talks with Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.

“The elements of Armenian democracy must be able to be preserved,” he added.

Pashinyan has faced fierce criticism since he signed a peace deal brokered by Russia that ended the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian region that broke from Azerbaijan’s control during a war in the early 1990s.

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Fresh fighting erupted over the region in late September with Azerbaijani forces backed by ally Turkey making steady gains.

After six weeks of clashes and bombardments that claimed some 6,000 lives, a ceasefire agreement was signed that handed over significant territory to Azerbaijan and allowed for the deployment of Russian peacekeepers.

The agreement was seen as a national humiliation for many in Armenia, though Pashinyan has said he had no choice but to agree or see his country’s forces suffer even bigger losses.

“Nikol’s time is over,” Grigor Airapetyan, a 68-year-old pensioner, told AFP at Friday’s rally.

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“So many young boys were killed, we suffered a defeat in the war and the country’s sovereignty has been weakened.”

Armenia’s military had backed Pashinyan for months, but on Thursday the military’s general staff joined calls for him to step down, saying in a statement that he and his cabinet were “not capable of taking adequate decisions”.

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#Newsworthy

Nagorno-Karabakh War: Armenia, Azerbaijan ‘broke’ laws of war

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Eight were launched by Armenian forces on towns and villages in Azerbaijan, killing 72 civilians, the rights group said.

Azerbaijan and Armenia violated international humanitarian law in recent fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, Amnesty International has said, as the rights group accused both sides of indiscriminately killing civilians.


Nagorno-Karabakh war: Different Stories.

Nagorno-karabakh: We shall fight ‘to the end!’ – Azerbaijan vows.

Armenia, Azerbaijan clashes; France, Turkey trades insult.


In a report published on Thursday, it said there was “clear evidence” Armenian and Azeri troops had repeatedly attacked residential areas far from the front lines in last year’s six-week-long conflict, noting weapons including cluster munitions were used.

Because of the amount of harm they can cause, more than 100 countries have banned cluster munitions, although Armenia and Azerbaijan have not.

Azerbaijan says at least 94 civilians and more than 2,800 soldiers were killed in the clashes, while Armenia says at least 60 civilians and 2,400 soldiers lost their lives.

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Amnesty put the civilian death toll at 146 overall, as it called on both countries to investigate the use of “notoriously inaccurate and indiscriminate weapons”.

Armenian forces used inaccurate ballistic missiles, unguided multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), and artillery, while Azerbaijan’s deployed unguided artillery and MLRS, the rights group said following on-ground investigations.

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“By using these imprecise and deadly weapons in the vicinity of civilian areas, Armenian and Azerbaijani forces violated the laws of war and showed disregard for human life,” said Marie Struthers, Amnesty’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia director.

Ethnic Armenian rescuers carry the body of a victim following shelling in the city of Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh on November 6, 2020 [File: Armenian Unified Infocentre/Handout via Reuters]

“Civilians were killed, families were torn apart and countless homes were destroyed. Attacks were repeatedly carried out on civilian residential areas far from front lines, and where there often did not appear to be any military targets in the vicinity.”

Amnesty said civilian casualties would “almost certainly” have been higher had people remained in the affected areas.

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In Stepanakert, a central city in Nagorno-Karabakh, ethnic Armenians either fled the fighting by travelling to Armenia or went underground into bunkers for shelter.

When Azerbaijanis were targeted in civilian areas, many left their towns for safer regions.

“The Armenian and Azerbaijani authorities must launch immediate, impartial investigations into their forces’ relentless and often reckless use of heavy explosive weapons in populated civilian areas,” Struthers said.

“As the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders begin to work out security arrangements it’s crucial that those responsible for these violations are swiftly held to account and that the victims get reparations.”

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But as is often the case with the two rivals, both sides denied the other’s claims of indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas during the fighting, which was brought to an end in November with a Russian-brokered peace deal.

Relatives of Royal Sahnazarov, his wife Zuleyha Sahnazarova, and their daughter Medine Sahnazorava, who were killed when a rocket hit their home, mourn during their funeral in the city of Ganja, Azerbaijan, October 17, 2020 [File: Umit Bektas/Reuters]

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces and self-appointed Armenian officials, backed by Armenia since a war in the mountainous region led to a ceasefire in 1994. That war claimed thousands of lives.

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‘Our family was destroyed’
Amnesty’s researchers documented 18 attacks by Armenian and Azerbaijan forces which “unlawfully killed civilians” while visiting dozens of sites in the region.

In one attack on September 27, the day the clashes broke out, Armenian forces killed five members of the Gurbanov family and partially destroyed their house in Gashalti, near the Azerbaijani city of Naftalan, according to Amnesty’s report.

“Our family was destroyed. We had started to renovate the house before the war, now we can’t bear to be here any more,” Bakhtiar Gurbanov, who lost his parents, sister-in-law, nephew and niece, told Amnesty.

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Azeri troops were meanwhile accused of nine attacks on towns and villages in Nagorno-Karabakh, in addition to one in Armenia, killing 11 civilians.

Thousands of soldiers and at least 146 civilians were killed before the conflict was halted in November with a Russian-brokered peace deal [File: Artem Mikryukov/Reuters]

In a separate incident on September 27, Amnesty said Azeri forces carried out 12 attacks in four minutes in Martuni, in Nagorno-Karabakh, mortally wounding an eight-year-old girl, Victoria Gevorgyan.

“Victoria was our little angel. She is gone … My little boy now still wakes up saying that there are planes in the sky bombing,” Anahit Gevorgyan, Victoria’s mother, told Amnesty.

After hostilities flared up again in September, the Azerbaijani military pushed into the region and surrounding areas with heavy artillery and drones.

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Moscow-mediated the truce to stop the bloodshed; the ceasefire locked in territorial gains for Azerbaijan.

Under the agreement, Russia has deployed about 2,000 peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh for at least five years.

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#Newsworthy

Nagorno-karabakh War: Armenia on final route out of Karabakh

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Fresh clashes over Karabakh erupted in late September and ended after Azerbaijani forces had reclaimed large areas from Armenian control.

Dressed in impeccable camouflage fatigues with Kalashnikovs slung over their shoulders, Russian peacekeepers stand guard along the last road linking Armenia with the restive region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

After meticulously writing down a car’s registration number in a large notebook, a soldier stands aside to let the driver pass and wishes him a good journey.

“When the peacekeepers arrived, the situation became calmer than during the war. It’s reassuring,” says Erik Tovmasyan, who is driving from Karabakh’s main city Stepanakert to the Armenian capital Yerevan for eye surgery.

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For Armenians still reeling from defeat in recent fighting with Azerbaijan, the peacekeepers who deployed under a Moscow-brokered peace deal are a welcome presence.

But with the region surrounding the road set to be handed back to Azerbaijan next week, many here are facing an uncertain future.

Russia has sent 2,000 peacekeepers to the region under the deal that ended six weeks of heavy fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave that broke away from Azerbaijan’s control in a war in the 1990s.

The peacekeepers have deployed between the two sides including along a 60-kilometre (35-mile) stretch connecting Stepanakert with the Armenian border in the south.

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Strategic road
The strategic road runs through the Lachin district, the third and last territory near Nagorno-Karabakh that Armenia will cede to Azerbaijan on December 1 under the peace deal.

Two other districts — neighbouring Kalbajar and Aghdam to the northeast — were returned to Azerbaijan earlier this month.

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In its northern part, the Lachin corridor diverges towards Shusha, a strategic and historic town overlooking Stepanakert that was captured by Azerbaijan in a pivotal moment of the war.

The small road leading to Shusha is blocked by soldiers from Baku, who are positioned close to the Russians.

AFP journalists passing nearby could hear Azerbaijani songs and music broadcast over loudspeakers from their position.

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“They do it from time to time,” says one of Moscow’s soldiers.

November 10 after Azerbaijan’s military overwhelmed Armenian separatist forces and threatened to advance on Karabakh’s main city Stepanakert. (Photo by Karen MINASYAN / AFP)

At another checkpoint on a road leading into the town, an Azerbaijani special forces captain tells AFP that the situation inside is calm.

“There are only soldiers in Shusha,” says the officer, who will not give his name. “Civilians (Azerbaijanis) come from time to time only to repair infrastructure” damaged in the fighting.

When Armenian separatists gained control of these districts three decades ago, local Azerbaijanis fled the territories and Armenians moved in.

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Now, it is the Armenians who are deciding whether to abandon their homes, fearing what will happen when Azerbaijanis return.

‘Nowhere to go’
In the town of Lachin, at the heart of the five-kilometre-wide (three-mile-wide) corridor, the manager of a grocery store is wondering what to do.

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“We have no information about whether we should leave,” says the man who does not wish to give his name, adding that he hopes to keep his store.

In front of his shop, 81-year-old Margarita Khanagyan leans on her cane as she stands next to an armoured vehicle belonging to the Russian peacekeepers.

“I left during the war, then we were told to come back and I came back. Now we have to leave again, but to where?”

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Uncertainty also looms over the village of Aghavno, the last residential area before the border with Armenia where several dozen houses were built 10 years ago, just below the road.

Men here are always carrying rifles, prepared to defend themselves at any moment.

“They can’t scare us,” says village head Andranik Chavushyan, 39. “We will still be living here.”

Standing next to him, Narine Rasoyan begins to cry.

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Pregnant with her sixth child, Rasoyan lost her husband in the recent fighting.

“I have nowhere to go with my five children, where would I stay?” she says through her tears. “Let them give me a house and I will leave.”

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#Newsworthy

Nagorno-karabakh war: Armenian PM calls for retreat.

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Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence from Azerbaijan nearly 30 years ago but it has not been recognised internationally, even by Armenia.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who has fuelled outrage over a controversial peace deal with Azerbaijan, called Monday for a halt to violence after reports of an attempt on his life.

Last week, Pashinyan announced a Moscow-brokered peace deal that ended weeks of heavy fighting over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh that left at least 2,400 dead and displaced tens of thousands.

Armenia agreed to cede parts of the region to Azerbaijan as well as other territories controlled by Armenian separatists since a 1990s post-Soviet war.

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After the deal was announced, thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Armenian capital Yerevan, calling Pashinyan a “traitor” and demanding his resignation. Protesters also stormed government buildings.

On Monday, Pashinyan appealed for calm.

“Today I clearly stated that violence or the provoking of violence (especially armed violence) cannot in any way be a means of action for the government,” Pashinyan said on Facebook.

Pashinyan said he expected the opposition to also declare that it did not back “any violent action”.

Authorities on Saturday said they thwarted a plot to assassinate the prime minister and arrested opposition leader Artur Vanetsyan, the former head of Armenia’s security services.

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Vanetsyan, leader of the centre-right “Homeland” party, was released on Sunday after a court ruled that his detention lacked legal grounds.

A dozen opposition leaders were detained last week for inciting riots but were also released by courts.

Clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenian separatists broke out in late September and persisted despite efforts by France, Russia and the United States to mediate ceasefires that collapsed as both sides accused the other of violations.


#Newsworthy…

Nagorno-karabakh: We shall fight ‘to the end!’ – Azerbaijan vows.

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Nagorno-Karabakh officials accused Azerbaijan of targeting the town of Martuni with military aviation and several other areas with missile raids overnight. Azerbaijani forces continued shelling the region’s civilian settlements in the morning, they said.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has said his country’s forces will “go to the end” should negotiations fail to result in an agreement by ethnic Armenian forces to withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions.

Aliyev, speaking during a meeting on Sunday with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, also said Armenia had “no basis” to request Russian military assistance in the conflict.

The conflict has brought into sharp focus the increased influence of Turkey, an ally of Azerbaijan, in a former Soviet region considered by Russia to be within its sphere of influence. Russia also has a security alliance with Armenia.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has asked Moscow to outline the extent of the support it could expect from Moscow.

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In response, Russia’s foreign ministry said on Saturday it would provide “all assistance required” should the conflict spill onto “the territory of Armenia” – land that is outside the current conflict zone.

Aliyev, quoted by state news agency Azertac, said he wanted to resolve the conflict through negotiations that would result in the withdrawal of ethnic Armenian forces.

“Otherwise,” he said, “we will continue by any means to restore our territorial integrity and … we will go to the end.”

His comments came as fighting over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh entered its sixth week on Sunday, with both sides blaming each other for new attacks.

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Azerbaijan’s defence ministry, in turn, rejected the allegation of targeting civilian areas and accused Armenian forces of firing at the positions of the Azerbaijani army on the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border. The ministry also said Armenian forces were shelling settlements in the regions of Terter and Aghjabedi.

Outside influence
Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. The latest outburst of hostilities began on September 27 and has left hundreds – if not thousands – dead, marking the worst escalation of the decades-old conflict between the two ex-Soviet nations in more than 25 years.

According to Nagorno-Karabakh officials, 1,166 of their troops and 45 civilians have been killed. Azerbaijani authorities have not disclosed their military losses, but say the fighting has killed at least 91 civilians and wounded 400. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, according to Moscow’s information, the actual death toll was significantly higher and nearing 5,000.

Azerbaijan’s advances on the battlefield since fighting began on September 27 have reduced its incentive to strike a lasting peace deal and complicated international efforts to broker a truce [File: Azerbaijani presidency via AFP]

Azerbaijan’s advances on the battlefield since the fighting began have reduced its incentive to strike a lasting peace deal and complicated international efforts to broker a truce. Three ceasefires have failed to hold.

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In the most recent attempt to defuse tensions, the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met on Friday in Geneva for a day of talks brokered by Russia, the United States and France, co-chairs of the so-called Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that tries to mediate the conflict.

The talks concluded with the two sides agreeing they “will not deliberately target civilian populations or non-military objects in accordance with international humanitarian law,” but the agreement was quickly challenged by reports of shelling of civilian settlements.

Azerbaijani troops, which have relied on drone strikes and long-range rocket systems supplied by Turkey, have reclaimed control of several regions on the fringes of Nagorno-Karabakh and pressed their offensive from the south.

On Thursday, Nagorno-Karabakh’s leader said Azerbaijani troops had advanced to within 5km (3 miles) of the strategically located town of Shushi just south of the main town Stepanakert, which sits on the main road linking Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.


#Newsworthy…

Nagorno-Karabakh: Second truce fails; fight continues.

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Clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan spill into fourth week, with dozens of civilians and hundreds of soldiers killed.

Azerbaijan and Armenia engaged in heavy fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region on Monday, with both countries ignoring a renewed truce that was meant to come into effect at the weekend.

The truce was agreed on Saturday after a similar deal brokered by Russia a week earlier failed to halt the worst fighting in the South Caucasus since the 1990s.


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In both instances, Armenia and Azerbaijan accused one another of breaking the truce within hours of agreed deadlines.

On Monday, ethnic Armenian officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said Azeri forces were shelling their positions in northern and southern areas of the line of contact that divides them.

They recorded another 19 casualties among their troops, pushing the military death toll to 729 since fighting with Azeri forces erupted on September 27; 36 ethnic Armenian civilians have died.

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Azerbaijan does not disclose its military casualties, but on Saturday claimed 60 Azeri civilians had so far died.

People mourn by the coffin of Armenian soldier Samvel Hovakimyan, 23, who was killed in the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, during a funeral ceremony at a cemetery in the town of Gyumri on October 19, 2020 [Karen Minasyan/AFP]

The Azeri defence ministry said Armenian forces had shelled its positions in the Garanboy, Terter and Aghdam regions of Azerbaijan overnight and said the Agjebedin region was being shelled on Monday morning.

The reports could not immediately be verified.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev accused Armenian forces of violating the truce, and said in a Twitter post there were “dead and wounded due to these heinous actions”.

More than 1,000 people have been killed since fighting began on September 27, including hundreds of soldiers and dozens of civilians.

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Nagorno-Karabakh is inside Azerbaijan but has been controlled by Armenia-backed troops for more than 25 years.

The failure to halt renewed fighting has raised fears of all-out war and humanitarian crisis, while the conflict puts fresh strain on ties between Turkey, which strongly backs Azerbaijan, and its Western allies in NATO.

While Turkey has called for a ceasefire, countries such as France and Germany have criticised Ankara for its fervent and vocal support of Baku in the fight.

Russia, which has a defence pact with Armenia and sells weapons to both rival countries, could also be at risk of being embroiled into a regional war.

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The first truce brokered in Moscow earlier this month was aimed at letting the sides swap detainees and bodies of those killed in the clashes, but it had little effect on the fighting around the enclave.

The latest truce was announced after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov talked to his Armenian and Azeri counterparts by telephone and called on sides to observe the truce that he mediated a week ago.

Russia, France and the United States jointly chair a body called the Minsk Group, which has attempted to help resolve the conflict under the umbrella of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

UN chief Antonio Guterres on Sunday called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to “fully abide” by the new truce, his spokesman said.


#Newsworthy…

Nagorno-Karabakh war: France, Russia & US set to meet. [More Stories]

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As international mediators head to Geneva, Armenia and Azerbaijan report further casualties.

  • France, US, Russia to hold talks in Geneva
  • Turkey says the Minsk Group should not be involved in mediating the conflict
  • Azerbaijan says city of Ganja shelled by Armenian forces, killing one civilian
  • Baku claims 30 Azeri civilians killed to date, but does not release military casualties
  • Nagorno-Karabakh says death toll among military rises to 350

France, the United States and Russia will step up efforts to end fighting between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces in the South Caucasus by holding talks in Geneva, as fears of a regional war grow.

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French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian said Russian, French and US representatives would also meet in Moscow on Monday to look at ways to persuade the warring sides to negotiate a ceasefire.

The three countries are co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group that mediates over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Turkey has accused the group of neglecting the conflict and said it should not be involved in mediation.

Le Drian hit back at Turkey, reiterating accusations – denied by Ankara – that it is involved militarily and saying this fuelled the “internationalisation” of the conflict.

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• HISTORIC ARMENIA CATHEDRAL DESTROYED IN KARABAKH •

Armenia said that Azerbaijani forces had shelled a historic cathedral in Nagorno-Karabakh’s city of Shusha, where AFP journalists saw the church had suffered serious damage.

There was a gaping hole in the roof of the Ghazanchetsots (Holy Saviour) Cathedral, an iconic site for the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Rubble was strewn about the floor, pews were knocked over and the interior was covered in dust from parts of the building’s limestone walls that had been hit. A section of its metallic roof had collapsed and fallen to the ground outside.

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• ARMENIA DISMISSES HEAD NSS •

Armenia on Thursday dismissed Argishti Kyaramyan, the head its National Security Service, the Interfax news agency reported citing a presidential decree.

• TURKEY FOREIGN MINSTER COMMENTS •

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the “status quo has to be changed” regarding the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia adding that Turkey respects the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

Turkey has publicly backed Azerbaijan in the conflict and said it was ready to provide military assistance, should Azerbaijan request it.

Speaking at the annual Globsec forum in Bratislava, Cavusoglu also added that he was against any conflict in the Black Sea region, adding that Turkey is not flirting with Russia and supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine.


#Newsworthy…

Nagorno-Karabakh: Civilian loses to death in Ganja rocket attack – Azerbaijan says.

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Armenia denied the attack but leader of Nagorno-Karabakh said it targeted Ganja on Sunday.

Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry says one civilian has been killed and four wounded in an Armenian rocket attack on the Azerbaijani city of Ganja on Sunday.

Armenia denied attacking its neighbour. The leader of Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region in Azerbaijan controlled by ethnic Armenians, said it had targeted Ganja, a city of more than 330,000 in the western part of the country.


CONTINUE READING


In statements posted on its website earlier, Azerbaijan’s defence ministry said Ganja and several other civilian areas were being attacked using rockets and shelling.

“Azerbaijan will destroy military targets directly inside Armenia from which shelling of its population centres is taking place,” presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev said adding that there were civilian casualties in Beylagan, which borders Nagorno-Karabakh.

Reporting from Ganja, NRM said: “People here are telling us that approximately an hour after a rocket landed, a second hit another residential area a few blocks away, wounding two people.”

Earlier, Armenian officials said Azerbaijan’s forces had shelled Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh’s main city, where the sound of sirens was heard at approximately 9:30am (05:30 GMT), followed by several explosions, according to AFP news agency.

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“Azerbaijani forces are shelling civilian targets in Stepanakert with rockets,” Armenian defence ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan told AFP.

Emergencies personnel work in a damaged area of Ganja following a rocket strike [Handout/Azerbaijani presidency/AFP]

Azerbaijani authorities said they had taken “retaliatory measures” after rocket fire from Stepanakert.

Reporting from Stepanakert, Noble Reporters Media said the city has been under intense bombardment since the morning.

“There has been considerable damage on the buildings in the city centre,” he said. “People were unable to go out. They are hiding in the bomb shelters. Civilians are on the receiving end of this bombardment.”

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Separately, the defence ministry in Baku said Armenian armed forces were firing rockets at the towns of Terter and Horadiz in the Fizuli region.

‘Final battle’
Nagorno-Karabakh is controlled by ethnic Armenians backed by Armenia and has been the subject of several United Nations resolutions calling for an end to the occupation of Azeri lands.

The leader of the breakaway province, Arayik Harutyunyan, said he was heading to the front and that the “final battle” for the region had begun, while Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said his nation was facing a historic threat.

“We are facing possibly the most decisive moment in our millennia-old history,” Pashinyan said in an address to the nation on Saturday. “We all must dedicate ourselves to a singular goal: Victory.”

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Azerbaijan and Armenia previously fought a war over Nagorno-Karabakh in the late 1980s and early 1990s as they transitioned into independent countries amid the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The war, which ended with a fragile peace treaty in 1994, is estimated to have killed tens of thousands of people, including more than a thousand civilians.

Armenia says it was Azerbaijan that restarted the conflict by launching a major offensive on September 27, while Baku says it was forced to respond to provocations by the other side.

The fighting continued despite international calls for the neighbours to halt clashes and begin talks as fears grow that the fighting could expand into a multi-front war sucking in regional powers Turkey and Russia.


#Newsworthy ..

Armenia, Azerbaijan clashes; France, Turkey trades insult.

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Fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia entered a fourth day on Wednesday in the biggest eruption of the decades-old conflict since a 1994 ceasefire.

Armenia said three civilians had been killed in Martakert, a town located in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, as a result of an Azeri attack, local news agency Armenpress reported.

Azerbaijani and Armenian forces battles rage for day 2. [Live]

French President Emmanuel Macron said Turkey’s “warlike” rhetoric was encouraging Azerbaijan to reconquer Nagorno-Karabakh.

Nagorno-Karabakh is a disputed region inside Azerbaijan and controlled by ethnic Armenians.

Armenia must return foreign mercenaries – Turkey Gov’t says.

It broke away from Azerbaijan in a war in the 1990s but is not recognised by any country as an independent republic.


#Newsworthy…

Armenia must return foreign mercenaries – Turkey Gov’t says.

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Turkey said Armenia must stop its occupation of Azerbaijan’s lands and send back the “mercenaries and terrorists” it brought from abroad for stability in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, where Armenian and Azeri forces have clashed.

“Armenia must immediately halt its attacks, send back the mercenaries and terrorists it brought from abroad and withdraw from the Azerbaijan lands,” said Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, adding a ceasefire and peace are needed.


#Newsworthy…

Azerbaijani and Armenian forces battles rage for day 2. [Live]

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Live coverage of the continuing fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in the disputed Caucasus region.

  • Heavy fighting that erupted on Sunday between Azerbaijani and Armenian military forces over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region continued overnight and into Monday morning.
  • Military personnel and civilian deaths have been reported from both sides, in the worst escalation in violence since 2016.
  • Most of the international community, including the United States, Russia, Iran and European powers, have been calling for an end to hostilities and the start of talks.

#Newsworthy…

Azerbaijan-Armenia Border Clash: 4 Soldiers Killed

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Azerbaijan and Armenia trade blame over a new escalation at their border that killed at least four Azerbaijani soldiers.


Four Azerbaijani soldiers have been killed as troops from Azerbaijan and Armenia have clashed on their border in a new escalation of their decades-long territorial dispute.

Three of the soldiers were killed on Sunday and one on Monday in the artillery fire that erupted on Sunday near Tavush region, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence said on Monday.

The clashes also injured two Armenian troops and five Azerbaijani soldiers.

Armenia’s defence ministry said Azerbaijan resumed shelling its positions on Monday morning after a night of clashes.

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The countries have traded accusations over which side started the fighting.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told a cabinet meeting that Azerbaijani “provocations will not be unanswered”.

Armenia’s Defence Minister David Tonoyan warned that Yerevan “will be reacting to Azerbaijani actions, including by taking advantageous positions” in their territory.

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He said Armenian forces “do not shell civilian targets in Azerbaijan and only target the engineering infrastructure and technical facilities of the Azerbaijani armed forces”.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh [File: Karen Minasyan/AFP]

‘Military adventure’
Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan discussed the crisis over the phone with the head of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), a Russia-led military bloc.

Referring to the military alliance, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s office said on Sunday Armenia’s “military adventure” was aimed at drawing CSTO into the fighting.

Turkey’s Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement, backing Azerbaijan.

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“Turkey will continue, with all its capacity, to stand by Azerbaijan in its struggle to protect its territorial integrity,” the ministry said.

All-out war between the two countries could drag in regional powers including Armenia’s military ally Russia and Azerbaijan’s patron Turkey, which compete for geopolitical influence in the strategic region.

Former Soviet republics Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a simmering conflict for about 30 years over Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway territory which was at the centre of a bloody war in the 1990s.

The continuing clashes are far from Karabakh and are directly between the two Caucasus states, which happens rarely.


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COVID-19: Armenia confirm first case


Armenia on Sunday confirmed its first case of coronavirus, an Armenian citizen who recently returned from Iran and who was in stable condition in hospital.

Around 30 people who had been in contact with the patient had also been placed in isolation, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Facebook.

Neighbouring Azerbaijan registered its first case of the COVID-19 virus on Friday, a Russian who had also arrived from Iran. On Saturday, Azerbaijan suspended all flights to Iran.

Georgia also has confirmed three cases and has temporarily banned Iranian nationals from visiting, along with suspending air links with China.

The number of novel coronavirus cases in the world has risen to more than 87,000, including 2,990 deaths, across 64 countries and territories since it first emerged in China in December.


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