An Armenian civilian was killed in Artsakh by Azerbaijani forces on the eve of the anniversary of the ceasefire agreement ending the 2020 Artsakh War.
The incident took place on November 8 near the Lachin-Stepanakert road connecting Artsakh and Armenia. Twenty-two year-old Martik Yeremyan was killed by Azerbaijani troops while repairing a water pipeline near the Azerbaijani-controlled city of Shushi. Gevorg Melkumyan, Gagik Ghazaryan and Armen Sargsyan were injured in the shooting.
The government of Azerbaijan did not deny that an Armenian civilian was killed by Azerbaijani soldiers. Yet it blamed the Armenian side for provoking the shooting, because the utility workers were not accompanied by Russian peacekeepers.
“Also, on this date, an event was held in Shusha with the participation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and state officials, and it is known that in such cases, enhanced security measures are taken in the area,” a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan reads.
The US State Department condemned the killing in a statement posted on the Twitter page of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.
“We condemn the violence that caused the death of an Armenian civilian. We urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to intensify their engagement including through the Minsk Group Co-Chairs to resolve all outstanding issues related to or resulting from the N-K conflict,” the statement reads.
The US State Department also released a statement recognizing the one year anniversary of the ceasefire declaration between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The statement calls for the “return of all remaining detainees, a full accounting of missing persons, the voluntary return of displaced persons to their homes, comprehensive humanitarian demining of conflict-affected areas, and access by international humanitarian organizations to those in need.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia said that the commitments recorded in the trilateral ceasefire agreement are “generally being implemented” in its own November 9 statement. “We will do our best to contribute to a normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia and support peace initiatives aimed at expanding contacts at all levels on a wide range of issues related to ensuring stability, security and economic development in the South Caucasus,” the statement reads.
A trilateral meeting between the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia did not take place on November 9, despite conflicting information in the media.
Rumors have been circulating in Armenian and Russian news outlets of a trilateral meeting and agreement between Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled for early November.
On October 23 Russian state-run RIA Novosti reported that Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia would sign a new agreement during the first 10 days of November, according to an anonymous source “familiar with the matter.”
Armenian journalist and political analyst Tatul Hakobyan reported in Aliq media on October 22 that the leaders of the three countries would sign two new agreements on November 9, citing “reliable diplomatic sources.”
The first agreement concerns the delimitation and demarcation of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Under the terms of the agreement, Armenia and Azerbaijan would recognize each other’s territorial integrity, according to Soviet-era maps from the 1920s.
The second agreement addresses the opening of regional transport and communication links. It would secure a route connecting Azerbaijan and the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic.
A trilateral working group launched to oversee the creation of a transportation route connecting Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan through Armenia, as well as Armenia and Iran through Azerbaijan, holds regular meetings. The Armenian PM has repeatedly decried demands from President Aliyev for an Azerbaijani-controlled corridor passing through Syunik, the southernmost province of Armenia. During a visit to Yerevan on November 5, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk said that the roads will “remain under the jurisdiction of the countries through which they pass.”
On November 7, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that a videoconference between Aliyev, Pashinyan and Putin is being planned for early November. However, later that day, PM Pashinyan said that “at this moment there is no agreement to hold a meeting on November 9” during an interview with Public TV.
On November 8, Peskov told the press that while “work is underway to prepare for such a meeting,” there are presently “no clear agreements and understandings about when such a video conferencing can take place yet.”
On November 9, the anticipated day of the trilateral meeting, Peskov confirmed that a videoconference between the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia would not take place that day.
“As for communication between the three of us, if such an agreement is reached sometime, we will inform you. Currently, there are no specific understandings,” he said.
The Armenia Alliance hosted a rally in Yerevan on November 8 to protest against possible territorial concessions arising from a new trilateral agreement. Thousands of supporters of the opposition parliamentary faction gathered in Freedom Square to hear speeches by heads of the Armenia Alliance, including former President Robert Kocharyan and Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) member of parliament Ishkhan Saghatelyan.
The coalition announced the launch of a “national resistance” to oust PM Pashinyan and his administration, who they blame for Armenia’s defeat in the war. The resistance campaign, which could “last for a week or months,” aims to eliminate foreign threats, including the “Turkification of Armenia,” “eviction of Armenians from Artsakh” and “surrender of Syunik.”
“Our presence in the National Assembly will serve to strengthen the resistance. As soon as conditions are ripe, we will move our struggle only to the streets and squares,” a statement by the Armenia Alliance reads.
“We are going to fight. Rest assured that we will oust them through barricades or elections or in other ways. And I will be with standing with you, leading you on those barricades,” Kocharyan said.