Archbishop Parkev Martirossyan outside Holy Savior (Ghazanchetsots) Cathedral

Azerbaijan, Turkey Attack: October 8 Round up

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STEPANAKERT (Combined Sources) — The grim news continued on October 8.

  • The Azerbaijani forces again bombarded Stepanakert and Shushi in Artsakh, and the heavily damaged Holy Savior (Ghazanchetsots) Cathedral was again hit.

Artsakh Public Radio Director Ani Minasyan told Armenpress that the air raid sirens in Stepanakert City are activated non-stop amid the Azeri strikes on civilians.

“One after another, they are striking from the morning on. The air raid siren doesn’t stop. They bombarded minutes ago again,” Minasyan said.

Artsakh presidential foreign affairs advisor Davit Babayan said the Azeri forces delivered another strike on the Holy Savior (Ghazanchetsots) Cathedral in Shushi.

“They again targeted Ghazanchetsots. This entirely fits in their style, because this is genocidal policy and a cultural genocide, because targeting a church is nothing else than targeting the Armenian value system,” he said.

The interior of the cathedral

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Ghazanchetsots is the seat of the Diocese of Artsakh of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The cathedral suffered the first Azeri rocket strike earlier on October 8.

Russian journalists have been injured as a result of the Azerbaijani bombardment of Holy Savior (Ghazanchetsots) Cathedral in the town of Shushi in Artsakh, according to RIA Novosti.

The iconic church is the seat of the Diocese of Artsakh of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

 

  • French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has affirmed that Azerbaijan was the one who initiated the ongoing fighting in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone.

“The Karabakh conflict is very serious now, and that is why our political unity is also very strong. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Minsk Group (OSCE MG) Co-Chairs have issued a joint statement calling upon the parties for a ceasefire because there are numerous civilian casualties,” the French FM said at the French parliament’s foreign affairs committee. He firmly stressed that it was Azerbaijan who launched the attack.

The French FM said the sides must be interested in establishing ceasefire without preconditions.

“You can’t say “we want ceasefire, but….”, this won’t happen. Hostilities halt, negotiations begin, in order for them to achieve agreement around a specific situation that will enable the sides to live normally,” he said, reminding about Azerbaijan’s precondition voiced days earlier.

The F-16s in Azerbaijan
  • Planet Labs satellite images analyzed by the New York Times Visual Investigations team show at least two Turkish F-16 fighter jets at the Ganja International Airport in Azerbaijan, New York Times reporter, analyst Christiaan Triebert said on Twitter, sharing the photos.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said last week that an F-16 fighter shot down an Armenian SU-25 fighter jet, killing its pilot in Armenia’s airspace over the Vardenis region. However, Turkey denied the report.

According to Christiaan Triebert, the fighter jets are likely operated by the Turkish Air Force, alongside a possible CN-235 cargo aircraft.

 

  • Reality television star and criminal justice reform advocate Kim Kardashian Westis pushing for President Trumpto do more to support Armenia amid an outbreak of fierce fighting with its neighbor and decades-old adversary Azerbaijan.

The influential celebrity, who is of Armenian descent, is broadcasting to her hundreds of millions of social media followers to demand Congress condemn Azerbaijan as the instigator of the recent fighting and denounce Turkey for interfering in the conflict.

Behind her efforts is the L.A.-based gastroenterologist, Emmy-nominated film producer and human rights advocate Eric Esrailian, who has been drafting statements for Kardashian West, her famous family members and other high-profile celebrities of Armenian descent calling for more support to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.

“The situation currently with a lack of appropriate international attention is frustrating for a lot of people,” Esrailian, who was a producer on the 2017 film “The Promise,” about the Armenian genocide, said in an interview with The Hill.

“What I’ve done with my friends, like Kim Kardashian, her family, her siblings, and other friends like Cher, Serj Tankian, Alexis Ohanian, all of us — obviously they have a bigger platform than I do, but I have the ability to pull everybody together … and I feel honored that everybody cares and they basically say, ‘what can I do?’ ”

 

  • The difficult position Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told the BBC on October 6 that President Vladimir Putin has vowed in telephone conversations that if Azerbaijani forces attack Armenia, Russia will “uphold certain security commitments” and aid Yerevan as a military ally in the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

Putin concurred a day later, saying in an interview on Russian state television that Russia will continue to fulfill its CSTO obligations toward Armenia.

Putin added he is in constant contact with Pashinyan about the conflict and that Armenia has not indicated it is unhappy with the Kremlin’s actions on the matter.

The Russian president also said a cease-fire must be agreed upon “quickly,” even if a resolution to the decades-old conflict takes longer.

But the lack of any real action or tough statements from the Kremlin has definitely disappointed many Armenians.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev told Russian state television on October 7 that Baku would return to talks with Armenia when the current fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh is no longer raging.

 

(The Hill, RFE/RL, Armenpress and Panorama.am contributed to this report.)

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