On Thursday, a decree was released stating that the breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in Armenia will no longer exist and the remaining ethnic Armenian residents will have to comply with being governed by Azerbaijan.
The Karabakh Armenian administration, which is not recognized, announced that de facto President Samvel Shakhramanyan has agreed to dissolve all state institutions and organizations under their jurisdiction by January 1, 2024.
Simultaneously, the statement states that the community must become knowledgeable about the reintegration terms offered by the Republic of Azerbaijan in order to make an autonomous and personal choice regarding the option of remaining (or going back) to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Since Azerbaijan reopened the only road linking Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia on Sunday, 65,036 people have fled their homes, the Armenian government reported. Long lines of buses, trucks and cars have formed at the border, with many spending more than 24 hours in their vehicles.
The large departure occurred following Azerbaijan’s initiation of a military attack to seize control of the separatist area on Tuesday. This resulted in leaders of the region agreeing to a surrender agreement facilitated by Russia and beginning the process of disbanding their unrecognized state that has been in existence for thirty years.
The process of evacuating has been made more difficult due to a rescue mission following a blast at a fuel storage facility on Monday evening, resulting in the death of at least 68 individuals and injuries to around 300. It is estimated that over 100 people are still unaccounted for.
In an interview with POLITICO on Monday, Hikmet Hajiyev, the foreign policy leader of Azerbaijan, emphasized that those who have departed will have the opportunity to come back. However, numerous individuals who are now arriving in Armenia express concerns that they may never be able to return to their country.
On Wednesday, authorities in Azerbaijan apprehended Ruben Vardanyan, a Russian-Armenian billionaire and former State Minister of Nagorno-Karabakh, as he attempted to flee the area with a large number of others. The following day, officials in Baku declared that he would face charges of “supporting terrorism, involvement in the formation and actions of unlawful armed groups, and illegally crossing the border into Azerbaijan.”
Samantha Power, the U.S. envoy, addressed reporters at the border of the two nations on Tuesday. She accused Azerbaijan of purposely implementing a nine-month blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh, resulting in severe humanitarian conditions. She also stated that the recent attacks have only exacerbated the already dire situation.
The USAID leader also urged for global entry to the area in response to concerning accounts of harm inflicted on innocent individuals.
The narrative has been revised.