Azerbaijan invades Parukh village, deadly attacks on Artsakh ongoing

Azerbaijan has seized the village of Parukh in Artsakh, while two Armenian soldiers have been killed in ongoing attacks using combat drones.

Artsakh Defense Army officials report that on March 24, Azerbaijani forces took control of Parukh in the region of Askeran. Women and children were evacuated from the nearby Khramort village following the Azerbaijani advance. Azeri troops did not retreat after Russian peacekeepers and state bodies of Artsakh held negotiations to persuade the soldiers to return to their starting positions. 

Overnight, Azeri units opened fire on the Artsakh Defense Army using firearms of different calibers and attack drones. Five Azerbaijani soldiers were killed, and five Armenian soldiers were wounded in the crossfire, the Artsakh Defense Army reports. 

Azerbaijani forces continued to violate the ceasefire on March 25, using firearms and combat drones, including the Bayraktar-TB2. Two Armenian soldiers were killed, according to Artsakh authorities. 

Artsakh Human Rights Defender Gegham Stepanyan, who visited a military hospital in Stepanakert on Friday, said at least 14 soldiers have been wounded, two in extremely severe condition. “Private conversations with the wounded revealed that almost all cases of injuries were registered due to the use of drones by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces,” tweeted Stepanyan’s office. 

Yerevan-based analyst Tigran Grigoryan says that the Russian peacekeeping force in Artsakh mediated a deal with Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers several days ago to mutually withdraw from Parukh. While the Armenian side retreated, the Azerbaijani forces “jumped at the opportunity and captured the village without any actual resistance from the Russian side,” Grigoryan wrote on Twitter. 

MP from the ruling New Azerbaijan Party Elman Mammadov has called for the “separatists and terrorists” living in Artsakh and the “military” of Artsakh to be “cleansed.” “The Armenians living in those areas before 1988 and their descendants must adopt the laws of Azerbaijan. Otherwise, Armenians who are not our citizens cannot live in our territories,” he said

The Azerbaijani side has denied any escalation of violence. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Azerbaijan says that “positions and deployment locations are being clarified” and that “no clashes or incidents have occurred.” 

The situation is artificially exaggerated by Armenian sources. The purpose is to create an atmosphere that can trigger deliberate hysteria, confuse and mislead the public,” the MoD of Azerbaijan wrote in a statement on March 24. 

That same day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Armenia released a statement calling on the international community to make a “clear assessment of Azerbaijan’s provocative actions aimed at undermining the peace process and to support efforts for establishing peace in the South Caucasus and achieving a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) conflict.” 

“We expect the peacekeeping force of the Russian Federation to undertake measures to ensure the immediate withdrawal of the infiltrated units of the Azerbaijani armed forces from the area of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, which should imply the return of the Azerbaijani armed forces to the starting position of March 23,” the MoFA of Armenia said in a separate statement on March 25. 

Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan held a phone call with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on March 24 to discuss the escalation in Artsakh. Shoigu said that “necessary steps” are being taken toward its “peaceful resolution.” 

The MoFA of Azerbaijan dismissed the statements from the Armenian Foreign Ministry as “disinformation.” It called for the complete withdrawal of Armenian soldiers from Artsakh, a request it has repeatedly forwarded in recent days, and the normalization of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations on the basis of international law. 

Armenia has submitted a request to the European Court of Human Rights for an urgent interim measure against Azerbaijan, Stepanyan reported

The US Department of State said it is “deeply concerned” about “Azerbaijan’s troop movement” and called on both Armenia and Azerbaijan to “use direct communications channels to immediately deescalate.” 

The latest attacks follow heightened tensions in Artsakh since late February. Late last month, videos circulated on social media depicting Azerbaijani forces ordering Armenian civilians to evacuate border villages in Artsakh by loudspeaker. On March 9, Azerbaijan’s military shelled the villages of Khramort and Nakhichanik in Askeran and Khnushinak and Karmir Shuka in Martuni. 

Meanwhile Artsakh authorities say that Azerbaijan has been disrupting the supply of natural gas to Artsakh, leaving the residents of Artsakh without heating in freezing temperatures. Artsakh receives its energy supply from a single gas pipeline from Armenia that crosses through territory near Shushi, which has been under Azerbaijani control since the 2020 Artsakh War. The Azerbaijani side prohibited Armenian crews from accessing the damaged section of the pipeline for over a week. While the pipeline was restored on March 19 following Russian mediation, the natural gas supply was interrupted once again on March 21, which Armenian officials blame on Azerbaijani intervention. 

“Artsakh is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe,” Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan said on March 24 regarding the disruption of the gas supply. “This unequivocally shows Azerbaijan’s policy towards the Armenians of Artsakh, that is, to make it impossible for them to live in their own homeland.”

Editor’s Note: At 1:58 PM ET, the Artsakh Defense Army announced on Twitter that three servicemen were killed during Azerbaijan’s attacks on the eastern border of Artsakh: Davit Mirzoyan (Born 1978), Ishkhan Ohanyan (Born 1994) and Ararat Tevosyan (Born 1990).

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.
Thank you @nyukevo! https://t.co/rObY5oUAbX - 2 weeks ago
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8 Comments

  1. Where is the “international community”? A legitimate question, to which we unfortunately know the answer. They do nothing.

    • WHY DO YOU CRY FOR THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY? WHY? WHY DOESNT ARMENIA PROPER REQUEST A WORLD WIDE ARMENIAN BODY MEETING WHERE ARMENIAN REPRESENTAIVES FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD FLY IN TO CREATE A UNITED WHOLE THAT COMES UP WITH A LASTING SOLUTION FOR A POTENT WORLD CLASS ARMY, SECURITY, PROSPERITY AND POWERFUL ECONOMY. THIS PLAN WILL WORK. CRYING TO 3RD PARTY THAT CAN CARE LESS IS USELESS. BTW THE CURRENT ARMENIAN PM PRETENDING IS EQUALY USLESS. NOTICE HOW SILENT HE IS? HE CAN CARE LESS. HE IS ALL TOO GLAD TO GIVE AWAY ANCIENT ARMENIAN LANDS. WHAT A COWARD HE IS. HE IS THE PROBLEM. NEEDS TO BE RID IMMEDIATELY. BEFORE ITS TOO LATE.

  2. What happened to Prime Minister Pashinyan’s so-called Խաղաղության Դարաշրջան or “The Age of Peace”?

    Given the fact that insanity is commonly defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, we can safely assume that the current dysfunctional Armenian government has long gone insane. They have been preaching peace with the enemy ever since their disastrous conduct of the 2020 terroristic war imposed on the Armenians while the enemy continues its belligerent criminal activities incessantly and with impunity and not just against Artsakh but Armenia as well. While the Armenian so-called foreign minister was in Ankara shaking the hands of terrorist Turkish devils in the name of peace their racist anti-Armenian Azerbaijani proxy was conducting attacks on defenseless Armenian population in border regions and planning further invasions and occupations of Armenian villages.

    When will this incompetent government either sober up and see the reality for what it actually is and conduct itself honorably, an attribute that has long been absent from their leadership, and quit fooling the population with hollow illusions of peace by mobilizing the nation and give response to the enemy in kind OR by cutting their losses and admit that this job is way above their pay grade and that they lack much needed competency in running a country, let alone a country in a constant state of war, and resign and leave the job to those who know how to handle the enemy like they had done in the past. The longer these inexperienced and delusional sorry excuse for leaders stay in power the longer this situation will continue and will get even worse because the enemy’s intention is not peace by any means but the total demilitarization and depopulation of regions heavily populated by indigenous Armenians. Didn’t we learn our lessons in the recent past when the enemy cunningly fooled the international community falsely advocating for peace by attending “peace” conferences to buy time to prepare for war? The enemy wants this government to stay in power because in it they have found a fat and lazy cash cow that they will continue milking until it goes completely dry and all of that at the expense of the Armenian population at large and because of the politically ignorant and gullible sector of the Armenian population that voted this treasonous government into power.

    • In my opinion, the treacherous and cowardly Armenian authorities have not learned anything. In my opinion, they squandered the lives of thousands of young conscripts. Instead of taking action themselves to defend the nation, they seek to use someone else’s hand to pull their chestnuts out of the fire. Remember how when thousands of Armenians rushed to volunteer at the outset of the 44 day war, these authorities turned them away. Drones or no drones, we could have won that war. We had to win that war. I am disgusted and ashamed.

  3. Armenians have drones too. I remember clearly when they were used during the 4 day war. That all changed when Pashinyan the traitor came to power. Armenia was the security guarantor of Artsakh. Not anymore.

  4. I don’t always mean to be so harsh, especially regarding Pashinyan. We need solutions more then anything. No room for negativity.

  5. Thanks Lilian, It is almost a year that we recommended the government Armenia to reciprocate initiatives by Iran toward supporting Armenia, Admittedly initiatives to support Armenia. But, We have not seen a tangible action, and firm response from Armenia. Considering preoccupation of current Peacekeepers of Artsakh with another conflict in West, Wouldn’t it be wise to seek support from South and consolidate the multi-dimensional relationships?

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