Second Karabakh War: Armenians mark one-year anniversary

Second Karabakh War: Armenians mark one-year anniversary

PanARMENIAN.Net - September 27 marks the first anniversary of the beginning of the 44-day war unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) in fall 2020.

In the wee hours of September 27, 2020, the Azerbaijani armed forces launched large-scale hostilities along the entire line of contact and targeted peaceful settlements and civilian infrastructure immediately.

Throughout the six-week war, at least 4000 people, including 88 civilians, were killed, according to official information, more than ten thousand others were wounded. Nearly 90,000 citizens of Artsakh were displaced, lost their homes and property as a result of the Azerbaijani aggression.

After three unsuccessful attempts at establishing a ceasefire – all of them sabotaged by Azerbaijan – Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Russian and Azerbaijani Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev signed a trilateral statement to end the war in Karabakh after almost 45 days. The President of Artsakh, Arayik Harutyunyan, also agreed to end the hostilities. Under the deal, the Armenian side returned all the seven regions surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, having lost a part of Karabakh itself in hostilities.

Immediately after the ceasefire was declared, approximately 2,000 Russian peacekeepers were along the Lachin corridor connecting Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as throughout Karabakh proper, for a mandate of at least five years. The warring sides kept control of areas they held within Nagorno-Karabakh at the time of the ceasefire, as well as agreed to open regional communications.

The parties later agreed to release the prisoners of war and civilian captives based on the "all for all" principle, but despite calls for the immediate repatriation by dozens of EU countries and international organizations, Azerbaijan has been prosecuting and torturing the Armenian PoWs.

On 16 November, Armenian President Armen Sarkissian declared that snap parliamentary elections and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's resignation were inevitable, proposing that a process be overseen and managed by an interim "National Accord Government". While the latter never happened, the country did hold snap elections, with Pashinyan securing a landslide victory.

On May 12-13, the Azerbaijani forces violated Armenia’s border in several sections in the provinces of Syunik and Gegharkunik, and are still refusing to withdraw their troops from the area. Since then, almost a dozen Armenian servicemen have been killed in Azerbaijan’s shooting, while a dozen others have been injured.

Armenia and the international community are calling for the resumption of the negotiation process within the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship to determine the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in New York on September 24. Though the Minsk Group co-chairs said they have proposed specific focused measures to deescalate the situation and possible next steps, details remain hazy.

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