According to reports, numerous fatalities have occurred in Nagorno-Karabakh as Azerbaijan continues its military attack on the region, which has now entered its second day.
Residents residing in the region controlled by ethnic-Armenians, who are surrounded by Azerbaijani soldiers on all fronts, took shelter in basements on Tuesday night as a result of intense shelling. Siranush Sargsyan, a journalist from the area, shared online that she had spent the night in a bomb shelter. “I am uncertain if we will survive until morning,” she expressed.
During a briefing on Wednesday morning, Anar Eyvazov, the spokesperson for Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense, maintained that the country is not deliberately attacking civilians. However, Azerbaijan has accused Armenian leaders of placing soldiers in residential zones.
Vaqif Sadiqov, the EU ambassador for Azerbaijan, stated online that the Azerbaijani army has successfully subdued the resistance of Armenian military units and has managed to penetrate the line of contact in multiple directions. He also warned that the Armenian military must surrender or face the consequences.
Nagorno-Karabakh, located within the borders of Azerbaijan that are recognized by the international community, has been under the control of its Armenian inhabitants since the Soviet Union’s dissolution and subsequent war. The two nations have been in conflict over this region for many years, with the Azerbaijani government claiming the authority to quell any “unlawful” military groups within its territory.
On Tuesday evening, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated that he will not let Azerbaijan involve the Republic of Armenia in any military actions, declining to get caught up in the conflict happening on their shared border.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of the capital, Yerevan, calling for Armenia to intervene in Nagorno-Karabakh, with police forced to deploy stun grenades to prevent government buildings being stormed. Major demonstrations were also held outside the Russian embassy, with Moscow’s peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh failing to prevent the bloodshed.
Gegham Stepanyan, a human rights advocate for the unrecognized Artsakh Armenian state in Karabakh, has reported that as of Wednesday morning, there are a total of 35 civilians who have been injured. Of these, 13 are children, 15 are women, and seven are men.
He mentioned that, currently, 27 individuals have been confirmed dead. However, due to the lack of reliable means of communication, the actual number could be significantly greater.
Although there is limited information from the front lines, due to the lack of internet and phone service, Azerbaijan claims that its soldiers have gained control of multiple areas within the territory previously occupied by Karabakh Armenian forces.
According to Armenian news outlets, the ancient Amaras monastery, built in the 4th century, has been transferred to new ownership. This has caused concerns about its future, as Azerbaijan has been accused in the past of destroying hundreds of Armenian churches.
According to Tom de Waal, a senior member of Carnegie Europe, the increase in violence signals the start of a fresh conflict in Karabakh and is a disappointment for Western diplomatic attempts to persuade Azerbaijan to find a nonviolent solution. He also warns that the situation has the potential to deteriorate further.
The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, has called “for the immediate cessation of hostilities and for Azerbaijan to stop the current military activities.” The U.S. State Department said Washington is “pressing for an immediate end to hostilities” and, amid concerns the war could spill out of Nagorno-Karabakh, “reaffirmed U.S. support for Armenia’s sovereignty and independence.”