Azerbaijan shells Artsakh villages

Armenians in Khramort have halted their agricultural activities (Photo: Gegham Stepanyan, February 26)

Azerbaijan’s military shelled various villages, mostly located along the eastern border of Artsakh, on Wednesday, according to Artsakh authorities.

The Office of the Prosecutor General of Artsakh reported that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces fired on the villages of Khramort and Nakhichanik of the Askeran region and the villages of Khnushinak and Karmir Shuka of the Martuni region in Artsakh. 

The shelling follows several days of escalated tensions in Artsakh, as well as along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. 

Armenian soldier Hrach Arami Manasaryan died from a gunshot wound on March 7 after the Azerbaijani Armed Forces opened fire on Armenian military posts along the western part of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border at midday. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Armenia said that one other soldier was wounded in the attack. The MoD of Armenia had denied an earlier report by the MoD of Azerbaijan that the Armenian military fired on Azerbaijani positions along the eastern portion of the border. 

That same day, the Artsakh Defense Army reported that the Azerbaijani military fired in the direction of the cemetery of Khramort. No casualties were reported. 

On March 8, the MoD of Armenia released a statement denying a report from the MoD of Azerbaijan that the Armenian Armed Forces had fired on Azerbaijani military positions in Artsakh and along the border with Nakhichevan. 

“After the provocation carried out by the Azerbaijani side on March 7, the situation along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border is relatively stable and within the full control of the RA Armed Forces,” the Armenian Defense Ministry wrote

On March 9, the MoD of Armenia reported renewed gunfire along the western portion of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. At 1:10pm, units of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces opened fire on Armenian military positions. The two sides exchanged fire until 2:00pm. 

That same day, the Artsakh Defense Ministry said that the Azerbaijani military fired in the direction of Khnushinaki. It did not report any casualties. 

“All the registered cases once again prove the direct and indisputable intention of the Azerbaijani side to disrupt the normal life of the peaceful population of the Artsakh Republic and to ethnically cleanse Artsakh,” said Artsakh’s Human Rights Defender Gegham Stepanyan. 

Last month, videos spread on social media depicting Azerbaijani forces ordering Armenian civilians to evacuate border villages in Artsakh by loudspeaker. 

The agricultural work you are currently carrying out is illegal,” can be heard in one video directed to the inhabitants of Khramort. “We demand you stop the work and leave the area immediately, otherwise force will be applied to you. The responsibility for the losses will fall on you.” 

Later videos depict broadcasts of calls to prayer, the Azerbaijani national anthem and selections from an Azerbaijani opera. 

“Among the 300 civilians living in the community, there are more than 80 children of preschool and school age, members of the elderly and other psychologically vulnerable groups,” said Stepanyan of Khramort. 

“The normal life of the village is paralyzed. People have stopped their agricultural work, which is the main means of livelihood of the civilians.” 

Tensions along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border have escalated since mid-February after two months of relative calm. 

On February 15, Artsakh soldier Khachatur Gagik Khachatryan was hospitalized in serious condition after coming under Azerbaijani fire. The Artsakh Defense Ministry reported that Khachatryan received a gunshot wound in the “eastern border zone” of the Republic of Artsakh. 

Khachatryan was wounded shortly after Azerbaijani soldiers fired at farmers working in Khramort. The soldiers shot a tractor used by the farmers, before Russian peacekeepers intervened to rescue the civilians, according to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Artsakh.  

The Artsakh Defense Ministry denied a statement released by the MoD of Azerbaijan on February 21 stating that units of the Artsakh Defense Army fired on Azerbaijani positions near the villages of Shogh and Taghavard. The Artsakh Defense Ministry blamed the attack on Azerbaijan and said there were no casualties. 

The Artsakh Defense Ministry reported another ceasefire violation in the direction of the southeastern border of the Republic of Artsakh on February 23, which Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry blamed on the Armenian side.

Meanwhile, the entire territory of the Republic of Artsakh has been deprived of its gas supply since the primary pipeline supplying gas from Armenia was damaged the night of March 8. 

The damaged section of the gas pipeline runs through an area under the control of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. Law enforcement authorities of Artsakh could not determine whether the pipeline was damaged due to actions by the Azerbaijani military. 

Spokesperson of the Artsakh Ministry of Internal Affairs Hunan Tadevosyan told reporters that the Russian peacekeeping mission in Artsakh mediated an agreement to allow sapper groups of the Artsakh State Emergency Service to carry out “demining and reconnaissance work in that area.” However, Armenian crews have been prohibited from accessing the pipeline. 

The Human Rights Defender’s office said that the Azerbaijani side “obstructs the access of representatives of law enforcement bodies and specialists of the gas supply company to the place of the accident.” As a result, Artsakh representatives have not been able to restore the pipeline. 

The Russian peacekeeping contingent in Artsakh also confirmed that no work is being done to restore the pipeline. 

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is a staff writer for the Armenian Weekly. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hetq and the Daily Californian. She is pursuing master’s degrees in journalism and Near Eastern Studies at New York University. A human rights journalist and feminist poet, Lillian's first poetry collection Journey to Tatev was released with Girls on Key Press in spring of 2021.
Lillian Avedian

@LillianAvedian

Graduate student @GloJo_NYU and @nyukevo. Staff writer @armenianweekly. Editorial intern @DAWN_Journal.
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9 Comments

  1. Perfect timing… Everyone is distracted again including Russia. I’d be careful. A major battle between you guys won’t even make BBC headlines right now.

  2. As Russia is busy in Ukraine, Azerbaijan, with the backing of Turkey and it’s patsy Israel, will like clockwork take advantage and start shelling Artsakh. Lets be clear: Pashinyan can care less about Artsakh. HE will not go there at the request of Azerbaijan. Imagine that? He’s all too happy to lose Artsakh. The traitor said so as he proclaimed that those lands “weren’t ours anyways.” He actually views Artsakh, which again is ancient Armenian lands occupied by Asian invading Turkish tribes, as a burden and blames everyone else for his treasonous incompetence. What a useless loser. So when? When will Armenia and Artsakh reach out to all the diaspora and create a one unified organization of wealth, industry, technology, security, military, basically a one world political Armenian powerhouse? When? Really when? What year? What decade? What century? Oh i know, we should all move there because “it easy to talk in Glendale”. As if Armenia really wants you there? They don’t. ALL PAST AND CURRENT POLITICAL Armenian organizations would rather steal and line their own pockets and then in times of crisis, will just cry to some useless outside entity that can care less. And history will repeat itself. The time is NOW!

    • I get it but it seems like you don’t. Statements made out of context may seem to make sense to an uninformed and unsuspecting audience but when things are put in context those statements fall apart. So let me elaborate!

      The United Nations is an impotent, dysfunctional, corrupt and hypocritical organization that should never be trusted. Remember the invasion of Iraq portrayed and sold to the UN as liberation based on falsehood? To say the UN is on the side of the pseudo-Turkish artificial Azerbaijan is naïve. All the major western energy companies invested in the Caspian oil and gas belong to the UN member states which are major decision makers in world affairs. Two of the most important UN charters dealing with territorial conflict resolution are based on self-determination and territorial integrity. For the sake of argument and assuming the UN is impartial in all matters, which we already know it is not, and also assuming that even there is such a thing called “territorial integrity” for artificial Azerbaijan invented on occupied Armenian territories only a 104 years ago, why then is it that the very same UN took the side of Kosovo in favor of self-determination and against the territorial integrity of Serbia paving the way for Kosovo, one of the youngest modern states in the world and recognized by nearly a hundred countries, to secede from Serbia violating Serbia’s territorial integrity but, as you say, UN is on the side of Azerbaijan in this particular case? Why the hypocrisy and inconsistency? Well, because artificial Azerbaijan simply put is a gas station with massive oil and gas resources the energy-hungry west can exploit. That’s the reality and not that the UN is on the side of Azerbaijan for the bogus artificial Azerbaijani claim.

      Besides, the so-called “independent” artificial Azerbaijan declared itself as successor state to the first artificial Azerbaijani republic of 1918 and not successor state to the Soviet artificial Azerbaijan SSR of 1921 and as such not just the ancient Armenian province of Artsakh, falsely called by its Turkified name of karabakh, but also the ancient Armenian province of Nakhijevan, where joint military exercises were held by terrorist NATO member Turkey and criminal artificial Azerbaijan before their September 2020 preplanned attack on the Armenians, both remain outside of the boundaries of artificial Azerbaijani “independent” republics of 1918 and 1991. These illegitimate territorial seizures and illegal transfers took place within the now-defunct Soviet Union and therefore they carry no legal weight. Furthermore, when these illegal territorial transfers took place about a hundred years ago, the two criminal powers involved in these land theft, Turkey and Soviet Union that is, were not even recognized as legitimate states by the international communities. That came a few years later thus making these territorial claims null and void. To legitimize such claims is to legitimize theft!

    • where is europe human rights when arab invaders occupied lebanon and started civil war and exiled millions christian maronites from their native lands and changed demographics for their advantages with gulf-arab money ?

  3. Why cant we use every social media available to relentlessly let the world know whatis going on as Ukraine is doing?! Governments, human rights organizations – we just let each other know and print in Armenian only publications. Where are our leaders?

    • Don’t you get it? The Azeri’s have UN on their side. I don’t care who’s ‘more right’ then the other I am just saying that the Azeri’s have the international law on their side (not these small attacks). That is why among other reasons people don’t care. The specific region has no value to the west. Ukraine is also a large country located in Europe and the attacker is Russia. Americans don’t even know where these countries are located on the map.

    • I totally agree! Yesterday 3/10/22 an influential American Jew (Jeffery Sonnenfeld, took the time and compiled a list of 500 companies that are both continuing to do business with Russian and who have curtailed business practices. It’s these types of initiatives that we can learn from Jews. Basically telling the world through Social Media who we should hate.

  4. These are psychological games being played on the defenseless native Armenian populations in the border regions by filthy and despicable pseudo-Turkish Azerbaijani criminal cowards in attempts to drive them out and depopulate the region from Armenian presence just like they have been busy doing in other regions in the past throughout their artificial existence on occupied Armenian territories for the last one hundred years. This is the continuation of their racist and fascist anti-Armenian policies to rid all indigenous Armenians from their ancestral homeland. These criminal activities are also a message to the Russian “peacekeeping” forces to remind them that they are not welcomed here. These Azerbaijani cowards of course, like a bunch of hyenas in the wild, don’t have the guts to engage with the Russian forces there so they instead target the peaceful and unprotected Armenian civilians to intimidate the Armenians and to remind the Russians that despite their presence there they can behave as they wish with impunity. They seem to be completely oblivious to the Russian indiscriminate attack on the Ukrainians that soon could turn its attention to artificial Azerbaijan for all its anti-Russian policies and declarations. They have this false sense of security that terrorist Turkey will always be there to do the fighting for them.

    These criminal activities and behavior by the coward enemy is due to the fact that they are in reality quite fearful of the Armenians and they know very well once the situation is reversed, and it will sooner or later once this dysfunctional and treasonous Armenian government is forced out and replaced by a patriotic one, that they will have no place to run or hide once the vengeful Armenian patriots come knocking on their doors. They had already felt that vengeful Armenian power on their skins some thirty years ago and they are trying to take advantage of the political situation in the region to maximize their theft and terror of a defenseless Armenian population. Given the right leadership, I have no doubt that Armenian people in their worst day can beat and defeat these Turco-Mongol Tatar Azerbaijani hyenas in their best day.

    For thirty years and with three to four times the population and twenty to thirty times the firepower they had been unable to put a dent on the Armenian resolve. Today, these cowards have been emboldened by terroristic attacks on the Armenians by half dozen criminal and terrorist states, headed by genocidal and terrorist NATO member state of Turkey, are trying to intimidate and dictate to us their racist policies but that will not last long. They day of settling the scores will come sooner than they think and when it does even a thousand “namaz” won’t save them from the vengeance of the patriotic Armenians. This time, unlike the past, we won’t have any mercy on them!

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