After the invasion of the Nagorno-Karabakh region in the South Caucasus by Azerbaijan, the first refugees from the Armenian population were evacuated to the motherland of Armenia. Late Sunday evening, the Armenian government spoke on Facebook about the entry of 1,050 people into Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh. In the afternoon there were still talk of 377 people.
Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirsoyan called for a UN mission to be sent to the United Nations in New York to protect tens of thousands of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. In Yerevan, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan confirmed on Sunday that Armenia was ready to accept the Armenians of Karabakh.
After brief violent attacks by the Azerbaijani army last week, defenders of the internationally unrecognized republic of Nagorno-Karabakh were forced to lay down their arms last week. Azerbaijan wants to reintegrate the region. Karabakh Armenians fear expulsion or retaliation from authoritarian Azerbaijan after decades of conflict.
After the attacks, refugees from other regions of Nagorno-Karabakh gathered in the capital, Stepanakert. This means that food and medicine have become even more scarce than they already were after months of siege. “Families who were displaced after the recent military operation and who want to leave the republic will be brought to Armenia,” the leadership in Stepanakert said on Sunday. This will take place in the region accompanied by Russian peacekeepers.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern about the situation of the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh. He wrote on the social media network X (formerly Twitter) after a phone call with Pashinyan that the United States also supports Armenia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Chancellor Olaf Scholz also said in a conversation with Pashinyan that Karabakh Armenians must be protected.
Armenian Foreign Minister Mirsoyan said Saturday in New York that “truly devastating developments” in the region showed that problems cannot be solved “through public statements and appeals alone.” A UN mission should be sent to Nagorno-Karabakh immediately to monitor the human rights, humanitarian and security situation.
Pashinyan said that an increased influx of refugees is expected because Azerbaijan is pursuing a policy of ethnic cleansing. The Armenian government is ready to accept the people of Karabakh if all attempts to protect their rights domestically fail.
Pashinyan is scheduled to meet Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev for talks on October 5 within the framework of the European Political Community meeting in Granada, Spain. In preparation for this, representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Germany, France and the European Union will meet in Brussels next Tuesday, the Armenian news agency Armenpress reported on Sunday, citing the government.
Meanwhile, wounded Armenian soldiers were transported from Karabakh to Armenia by ambulance. The Armenian Ministry of Health in Yerevan said on Sunday that the convoy was accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross. There were 23 wounded. On Saturday, the ICRC helped collect wounded soldiers from several areas of Karabakh in Stepanakert.
In a video message to residents, Pashinyan once again expressed his disappointment with the former protection force, Russia. The Russian soldiers stationed at the site did not protect the Armenians of Karabakh, as agreed in 2020. Armenia must change its security policy, rely more on itself and look for other partners.
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