Khramort village

Azerbaijanis Conduct Psychological and Physical Attacks against Khramort Village, Artsakh

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YEREVAN — A new example of Azerbaijani aggression against Armenians took place on February 26 at the village of Khramort in Artsakh. This village of Khramort has become a border post after the 2020 Artsakh war, with Azerbaijani positions located right next to it. Azerbaijanis had on a number of occasions fired at the civilians in Khramort, as previously reported in the Mirror-Spectator.

This time, they approached the village, threatening the villagers carrying out farm work by demanding in the Armenian language that they leave the village or submit to them since it is “Azerbaijani territory and the laws are regulated by Baku.” Here is the text of their statement.

“You are on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Any action carried out here is regulated by the laws of Azerbaijan. Everything you do without official permission is illegal. The agricultural work you are currently carrying out is illegal. Do not prepare for war and do not try to create a border in our territory. If you want to stay and live here, obey the laws of Azerbaijan. For your safety, we demand you stop working and leave the area immediately. Otherwise force will be used against you. The responsibility for the losses will fall on you. Do not endanger your and your family members’ lives. Leave the area, leave the area.”

What has happened is blatant terrorism, a gross violation of human rights. International organizations must not only make a clear assessment of this, but also take measures to prevent terrorism.

“The recent provocation by Azerbaijan against the population of the village of Khramort is a classic example of psychological warfare, which was obviously prepared in Baku,” said military expert Vladimir Harutyunyan to Artsakhpress, referring to the statements made by Azerbaijanis in literary Armenian over a loudspeaker that the village is Azerbaijani territory and that the locals should leave it.

Artsakh Human Rights Defender Gegham Stepanyan also referred to the incident, stating that a stunned atmosphere prevails in the village. He said: “It is already the third day that the Azerbaijani side, positioned near the community and located on a hill 500 meters from its habitable part, by means of loudspeakers and with the threat of the use of force issues ‘calls’ to the peaceful inhabitants of the village to abandon the village. This is with the clear intent to intimidating the residents of the Khramort community of Askeran region, create an atmosphere of fear in the village and empty the village of Armenians. The collected evidence proves that the ongoing Azerbaijani actions to intimidate the population of the village are carried out under the specially planned direct coordination of the Azerbaijani leadership. These are actions directed against the psychological inviolability of the people of Artsakh, as evidenced by the fact that the so-called ‘calls and appeals’ are videotaped and spread on social networks during the 44-day war and after which via Azerbaijani propaganda channels.

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“It is clear from the content of the calls that the Azerbaijani side is threatening to use force against the civilians of the Khramort community with the aim of depriving them of their own homeland, the right to live in peace and security, and to lead a normal life with decent work. Among the more than 300 peaceful inhabitants living in the community, there are more than 80 children of preschool and school age, members of the elderly and other psychologically vulnerable groups. The normal life of the village is paralyzed. People have mainly stopped agricultural work, which is the main means of livelihood for civilians.

This is due to the atmosphere of tolerance, leaving Azerbaijan unpunished for its criminal acts, under which conditions the Azerbaijani side uses new methods and means to advance its Armenophobic and terrorist policy.

In order to ensure the security of the residents of the community and their physical and psychological inviolability, it is very necessary that additional security measures be taken both by the security bodies of Artsakh and by the representatives of the Russian peacekeeping troops. In particular, the constant presence of a group of Russian peacekeepers in the community can increase the sense of security among the community residents, promote the normal life of the civilian population in the community.”

Political scientist Hrant Melik-Shahnazaryan thinks that what is happening is also connected with the Russian-Ukrainian war. He declared: “There are serious risks in our region. There will be many provocations. Everything in the region is heating up and it cannot be ruled out that clashes may take place here too. Of course, we are not the target. The goal is to turn Russia’s life into a hell. However, that does not make our situation any calmer. On the contrary, everything becomes more complicated. Therefore, it is necessary to be prepared for the worst-case scenarios.”

Khramort village head Zorik Abrahamyan said to the Mirror-Spectator: “I told the media yesterday that the situation here is serious. I am repeating myself, but since it is for a media outlet abroad, I want to say once again that Azerbaijan is carrying out terrorism against us. All our rights have been violated, people are terrorized. It is no secret to us that if possible, the Azerbaijanis will attack and massacre peaceful civilians. I have nothing more to say. Everything is clear. We are subjected to Turkish-Azerbaijani terrorism.”

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