Artsakh, Nagorno Karabakh
Updates From Artsakh: Humanitarian Ceasefire Falls Apart

The Russian-brokered humanitarian ceasefire has fallen apart as Azerbaijani forces continue to launch offensives and shell cities and towns in Artsakh. 

Early this morning, Arayik Haruyunyan, the President of Artsakh held a press briefing and thanked the Russian side for taking the initiative to establish a ceasefire. He said that the civilized world knows what is happening in Artsakh and the genocidal acts being committed by Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey and international terrorist groups against Artsakh. He said that the people of Artsakh expect that the international community will move beyond statements and calls and take substantive steps as international terrorism “is inflitrating our region under the guise of Azerbaijan’s fight against the Artsakh liberation struggle.” Harutyunyan went on to say that if there is no willingness on the part of Azerbaijan in the coming two days to embark on a path to resolving the conflict through peaceful means, then he will formally request the Republic of Armenia and other countries around the world to recognize the independence of Artsakh.

The Ombudsman of Artsakh today released his office’s second fact-finding mission. As of October 10, 25 civilians have been killed (five were killed yesterday alone) and more than 100 have been wounded.

Amid concerns that the ongoing war in Artsakh might pull in larger, more powerful regional players, Armenia’s Foreign Affairs Minister will be heading to Moscow tomorrow to meet with his Russian counterpart; a meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs is also expected.

Here is a chronology of official updates.

President of Artsakh: Countries That Support Azerbaijan, Support International Terrorism

10 a.m.: President of Artsakh Arayik Harutyunyan gave a live press briefing. Here is an unofficial translation of his remarks:
As you know, following the call of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a humanitarian ceasefire on October 10 to exchange prisoners of war and bodies of killed servicemen. The ceasefire regime was achieved through the mediation of the Russian Foreign Minister and was scheduled to enter into force starting at 12 p.m. October 10. The sides agreed that the exchange of POWs and bodies will be coordinated and implemented by the International Committee of Red Cross. We thank the Russian authorities, President Vladimir Putin, in particular, for taking the initiative. In this context, it is important to stress that the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs remain the only internationally recognized format for negotiations and the peace process. I also want to thank all the international organizations and countries who in different formats have taken steps for the establishment of peace and stability. 

I want to acknowledge independent journalists because it is thanks to them that the civilized world knows what is happening in Artsakh and the genocidal acts being committed by Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey and international terrorist groups, against a nation that started its fight for freedom in 1988. We expect the support of the civilized world not only by covering the situation on the ground, not only by statements and calls but rather by substantive steps. International terrorism is inflitrating our region under the guise of Azerbaijan’s fight against the Artsakh liberation struggle. There is significant evidence supporting this, it has been confirmed and covered by a number of countries and organizations, including Russia, France, the U.S., the OSCE Minsk Group, etc. They don’t even try to conceal it, several local newspapers in Pakistan and Afghanistan (that support the government) write that [fighters] are planning to come to Artsakh. We also have evidence that terrorist groups in Azerbaijan are planning to come here.

Why do I use the word genocide? The Azerbaijani side uses Smerch, Polonez, missile systems, combat drones against the civilian population of Artsakh. Under the guise of targeting military objects and infrastructures, there is not a single area in Stepanakert that has not come under a missile attack, including the targeting of the Ghazanchetsots Church in Shushi and it is important to say that there are no military objects or infrastructure around it. So, universal values are being violated in Artsakh and a process aimed at exterminating the people of Artsakh is underway. And after all this, they expect Artsakh to agree to the demands of Azerbaijan. I want to declare that won’t happen. Artsakh is exercising its right to self-defense with the support of the Republic of Armenia and the global Armenian community. Artsakh will not be part of Azerbaijan.

I want to express my gratitude to the diaspora. I have lived many days filled with pride seeing the courage of our soldiers, but those feelings are no less strong when I see the commitment of our compatriots, who raise funds, who welcome people from Artsakh to Armenia and who urge governments from around the world to respect the people of Artsakh and their right to self-determination. I want to thank the Armenian government; they are apprised of the situation not only on the frontline, but also the situation of the population. I want to underscore the role of the Prime Minister, with whom I am in constant contact. There is not a single issue that is not being resolved immediately and this unity will be the guarantor of our success.

I don’t want to talk about the behavior of the coalition that has been formed with Azerbaijan, Turkey and mercenaries. How will they respect Russia’s mediation, the calls by the international community regarding the ceasefire and move towards addressing humanitarian issues and negotiations. If this does not happen, it will be yet another evidence that this is not an Artsakh-Azerbaijan issue, this is not an issue about the future of the people of Artsakh and the people of Azerbaijan, and instead there are many other dangerous elements against humanity hidden beneath these intentions.

If we don’t see Azerbaijan’s willingness in the next one or two days to embark on a path of resolving the conflict through peaceful means, then I will ask the Republic of Armenia to formally recognize the independence of Artsakh Republic, including also international organizations and other countries. And here we will of course see those countries who respect human rights, who respect international law and the world will see the list of those countries who support terrorism, those countries who support Azerbaijan, support international terrorism. The people of those countries have to clearly understand the behaviour of their governments, who will have to answer to humanity and before God.

But most importantly I want to thank and bow before my compatriots who are not listening to this press conference, who are on the frontline, who are performing heroic acts every single second. I am proud that I have compatriots like you dear soldiers, dear comrades-in-arms, I bow before you, before your courage, “let me take your pain” [Ես Ձեր ցավը տանեմ].


While answering a question about the ceasefire regime, Harutyunyan stressed that at this stage the ceasefire is not holding. “It has been calm since early morning but we cannot be sure whether this will be a lasting peace.” He noted that civilian settlements are not being targeted or shelled at this point. The situation can change every minute so I cannot give an assessment of the situation. Harutyunyan also said that if the ceasefire regime, which was achieved through the mediation of the President of Russia, doesn't hold, it means that it is secondary for Azerbaijan whether there will be negotiations or not. If this happens, then the Republic of Armenia should recognize Artsakh’s independence and there should be calls for countries around the world to do the same. “We are for peace,” added the President. “But we cannot accept the conditions of a country, whose goal is to exterminate the people of Artsakh, the millennials-old culture of Artsakh, and the history of Artsakh.” Harutyunyan stressed that he will declare a patriotic war and will call upon all Armenians to not only provide financial assistance, but get involved physically if they want to.

Speaking about the situation in Hadrut, Harutyunyan explained that because Aliyev announced that Azerbaijan had taken control of Hadrut (which according to the Armenian side was disinformation), hours before the ceasefire, realizing that this was far from the truth, Hadrut became Azerbaijan’s last target. He went on to say that with the support of foreign special forces and mercenaries, they launched a diversion attempt hours before the ceasefire was scheduled to enter into force, with an end goal to take control of Hadrut. Although they managed to enter the territory of Hadrut and its surrounding areas, Armenian forces managed to push them back.

Answering a question about Israeli-made drones which are supposed to be used for defensive purposes only, but there are reports that these are being used for offensive purposes, Harutyunyan stressed that during the April War the Israeli leadership not only knew how these drones were being used but that Israeli experts were in Azerbaijan at the time. “Of course Israel knew about this and they continue to supply Azerbaijan. If Israel says they are not aware, this is a mockery in front of the world. Israel will also have to answer for the genocide taking place, a country that has suffered and lived its own genocide.” Harutyunyan stressed that today, money controls the world and for money they are violating human values as well as values imposed by God. Not only is the Israeli government aware of this, all governments are aware of this and yet they continue to supply Azerbaijan.

10:20 a.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Ministry of Defense wrote on his Facebook page that combat drones are being shipped to Azerbaijan under the cover of humanitarian cargo from Israel and Turkey.

11:40 a.m.: According to RIA Novosti, Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev announced that Baku is ready to start immediate discussions with Yerevan regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. He noted that “if the Armenian side remains faithful to the ceasefire, the political stage of the resolution will start and forced negotiations will end.” Aliyev also stressed that the Azerbaijani side will go all the way to the end.

12 p.m.: Artsakh’s Ombudsman Artak Beglaryan tweeted that the village of Talish was the most affected village in the first Karabakh War when it was occupied and burned by Azerbaijani forces in the 1990s, then destroyed in 2016 and “now has been occupied again.”

12:20 p.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Ministry of Defense announced that Turkey’s Air Force air command points flying in Turkish airspace are controlling Turkish UAVs operating within the Azerbaijani Air Force. The UAVs are accompanied by six F-16s and under the cover of those F-16s are shelling peaceful civilians and infrastructures of Artsakh.

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