The Azerbaijani authorities held a military parade in the Karabakh city of Khankendi (formerly Stepanakert – NV), timed to coincide with the third anniversary of the liberation of territories previously occupied by Armenia. This was reported by the press service of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
The head of state himself, as well as his wife and son, took part in the parade.
Units of the Ministry of Defense, internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, State Border Service, State Security Service and army special forces paraded on the main square of Khankendi.
Also during the parade, spectators were shown modern models of military equipment, including captured equipment, transferred to Azerbaijan by the troops of the unrecognized republic based on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in September of this year.
On October 15, Ilham Aliyev personally raised the flag of Azerbaijan over Khankendi, which completely came under the control of Azerbaijani forces after an “anti-terrorist operation” was carried out on the territory of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
In Azerbaijan, the 2020 war, in which the country’s troops defeated the Armenian army, is called the Patriotic War. Aliyev signed a decree on the annual celebration of Victory Day in this war on November 8, when Azerbaijani troops occupied the city of Shusha.
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.
On September 19, 2023, Azerbaijan launched an “anti-terrorist operation” in the areas of Karabakh populated by ethnic Armenians: it ended with the capitulation of the authorities of the self-proclaimed republic. On September 28, the head of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Samvel Shahramanyan, signed a decree on the termination of its existence from January 1, 2024 and the dissolution of state institutions.