Azerbaijani troops fired small arms at Armenian positions located on the territory of Armenia, the Armenian Ministry of Defense said.
The incident occurred around 22:50 local time (21:50 Moscow time), writes the Armenian service of Radio Liberty. The department did not specify whether there were dead or injured. The shooting took place at positions in the Gegharkunik region near the village of Sotk. Later, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense rejected Armenia’s accusations, saying that they were untrue.
Military specialists will be involved in the disarmament of armed formations in Karabakh, “mechanisms for this are now being prepared,” said Advisor to the President of Azerbaijan Hikmet Hajiyev.
As Radio Azatutyun reports, speaking to diplomats accredited in Azerbaijan, Hajiyev again stated that Baku is ready to reintegrate the Armenians living in Karabakh within the framework of the Constitution of Azerbaijan.
“At the meeting to be held tomorrow in Yevlakh, we are ready to answer the humanitarian questions of the population of Karabakh and guarantee stability and security in a short time,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Defense states that the Russian peacekeeping contingent has evacuated 5 thousand people from three regions of Nagorno-Karabakh: Mardakert, Martuni and Askeran. They were delivered to the peacekeepers’ location.
The military department noted that the Russian side continues “continuous interaction with Baku, Yerevan and Stepanakert, aimed at preventing bloodshed, ensuring security and observing humanitarian law in relation to the civilian population.”
Since September 19, during Azerbaijan’s “anti-terrorist measures” in Nagorno-Karabakh, at least 200 people have been killed and more than 400 injured, said the Ombudsman of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Gegham Stepanyan.
“As of 21:30 (20:30 Moscow time) on September 20, according to the office of the human rights defender, at least 200 dead and more than 400 wounded were recorded. The number of wounded among the civilian population exceeds 40 people, including 13 children. At this time “Ten civilian deaths have now been confirmed, including five children,” the statement said.
In Armenia, meanwhile, in connection with the “organization of mass riots and participation in them, public calls for mass riots” that took place on September 20 in front of the government building, a criminal case has been opened, reports the Investigative Committee of Armenia.
According to the report, the participants of the rally on Republic Square in Yerevan on September 20 at approximately 21:30, after public calls for riots were heard among them, approached the entrance to the government building and, not obeying the lawful demand of the police to maintain public order, began mass riots, threatening public safety.
Several people were detained on suspicion of committing mass riots.
Almost all opposition forces in Armenia have reached an understanding on the program of “overthrowing the evil government” and its head Nikol Pashinyan due to the past battles in Nagorno-Karabakh, said the representative of the Dashnaktsutyun party, former vice-speaker of the Armenian parliament Ishkhan Saghatelyan at the rally.
A National Committee will be created – a special body to “lead the popular movement”, which will “bring the fight to a victorious end,” the deputy said, in addition, the parliamentary opposition will initiate impeachment of Pashinyan.
On the afternoon of September 19, Azerbaijan announced the start of “anti-terrorist measures” in areas of Nagorno-Karabakh populated by ethnic Armenians. The Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army (a military structure operating in the unrecognized “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic”) reported that on September 19 at around 11:10 am, the Azerbaijani military violated the ceasefire in the Askeran region by using a mortar. Immediately after this, residents of the Armenian regions of Karabakh began reporting heavy artillery shelling.
Baku stated that this operation is a response to the sabotage that the Karabakh military allegedly committed on the 58th kilometer of the Akhmedbeyli-Fuzuli-Shushi highway. They are alleged to have planted an anti-tank mine in the area, killing two civilians. The Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army said it regards Baku’s statements “as another piece of disinformation.”
As a result of the “anti-terrorism measures” launched by Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh, seven civilians were killed, including the mayor of the city of Martuni Aznavour Saghyan. Also, according to the Karabakh authorities, 35 people were injured of varying degrees of severity.
On Wednesday, September 20, the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh decided to cease fire. The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan confirmed that an agreement had been reached on the “suspension of anti-terrorist measures” in Karabakh on September 20 from 12:00 Moscow time. The agency reported that this was done after “an appeal from representatives of the Armenian residents of Karabakh, received through the Russian peacekeeping contingent.”
The territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh has been going on since the late 1980s. The Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, populated mainly by ethnic Armenians, with the support of Armenia, declared secession from the Azerbaijan SSR, and in September 1991 announced the creation of the “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic”.
During the armed conflict of 1988–1994, 30 thousand people died in the separatist region. Nagorno-Karabakh and several adjacent regions of Azerbaijan came under the de facto control of the Armenian armed forces. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people, mostly ethnic Azerbaijanis, became refugees and internally displaced persons.
The “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic” is not officially recognized by any UN country, including Armenia. In 1993, the UN adopted four resolutions demanding the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the Karabakh region and recognition of the territory as part of Azerbaijan.
After another escalation of the situation at the end of September 2020, Azerbaijan returned to its control the areas around Nagorno-Karabakh and took the ancient and symbolically significant city of Shusha (Shushi in Armenian). The day after the capture of Shushi, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a ceasefire statement in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Under the terms of the agreement, Armenia and Azerbaijan are assigned the territories where troops were located at the time the document was signed. A Russian peacekeeping mission is stationed along the contact line.
After this, Azerbaijan began a blockade of areas of Karabakh populated by ethnic Armenians: checkpoints were set up on the only road that did not allow any cargo, including food and humanitarian aid, to enter the region. Residents of Armenian areas of Karabakh have reported hunger in recent weeks.