The Region in Brief

Photo: David Ghahramanyan

Armenia

A powerful explosion at a gas station near Abovyan, Armenia injured at least seven people on the night of June 6. Rescue units arrived on the scene, managing to prevent an open fire. Two of the victims sustained severe burns, covering 60-65% of their bodies and lungs, and are in critical condition with third- and fourth-degree burns. Four victims remain hospitalized, while one woman with minor injuries has been discharged. In a separate incident on June 6, a border guard was injured by an anti-personnel mine explosion near the seventh century Saint Astvatsatsin Church in Voskepar, resulting in the loss of his foot.

Artsakh

The Artsakh Union has launched a campaign urging Azerbaijan to demonstrate its commitment to making COP29 a “conference for peace” by releasing Armenian political prisoners. This call coincides with the Bonn Climate Change Conference, where the COP29 agenda is being set. The campaign responds to a statement by Azerbaijani official Hikmet Hajiyev asserting that the conference will be an engine for peace. The Artsakh Union, representing displaced citizens of Artsakh, has called for international pressure on Azerbaijan to address ongoing human rights abuses, such as the detention of Armenian leaders, including Ruben Vardanyan. 

Azerbaijan

On June 12, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense will conduct tactical exercises involving army units in Nakhichevan, featuring military personnel, combat equipment, aviation and drones. Simultaneously, similar exercises will be held in Iran, following an agreement between the two countries, involving Iranian forces. According to the defense ministry, these joint exercises are “focused on further increasing the decision-making skills of commanders and their level of professionalism, as well as improving the interoperability between the units.”

Iran

Tehran has expressed its support for the normalization of relations between Yerevan and Baku but firmly opposes any initiatives that could alter regional borders or demographic balances, according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry. Under the leadership of parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Iran is expected to maintain its foreign policy stance and support for Armenia’s territorial integrity.

Russia

The Russian ambassador to Armenia, who was summoned to Moscow for consultations two weeks ago, will soon return to Armenia and resume his diplomatic duties. Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin confirmed that there are no plans to downgrade diplomatic relations between the two countries. The ambassador was recalled two days after Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan said that two member states of the Russian-led CSTO helped Azerbaijan prepare for the 2020 war in Artsakh. In a related development, Syunik Governor Robert Ghukasyan announced that Russian border guards have vacated Nerkin Hand in the Syunik region.

Hoory Minoyan

Hoory Minoyan

Hoory Minoyan was an active member of the Armenian community in Los Angeles until she moved to Armenia prior to the 44-day war. She graduated with a master's in International Affairs from Boston University, where she was also the recipient of the William R. Keylor Travel Grant. The research and interviews she conducted while in Armenia later became the foundation of her Master’s thesis, “Shaping Identity Through Conflict: The Armenian Experience.” Hoory continues to follow her passion for research and writing by contributing to the Armenian Weekly.

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