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Battling Alone: Artsakh's Fight Against Azerbaijani Aggression Under Russian Watch

Battling Alone: Artsakh's Fight Against Azerbaijani Aggression Under Russian Watch

After the commencement of military operations, Artsakh President Samvel Shahramanyan acknowledged the stark reality of being isolated against Azerbaijani aggression. In an interview with Artsakh TV on October 28, Shahramanyan disclosed the challenges Artsakh faced and the difficult decisions made to protect its people.

"On the morning of September 19, I was with the commander of the Russian peacekeeping troops. The first indication of an impending military operation was Azerbaijani forces approaching the Russian base below Shushi, warning them to hide personnel as artillery would soon be fired. After confirming this with Russian peacekeepers, it became evident that military operations were imminent," Shahramanyan explained.

Artsakh's armed forces and power structures were swiftly mobilized, and instructions, including civil defense measures, were issued. Within half an hour, military operations began, plunging several regions into intense shelling. Despite the challenging circumstances, Artsakh found itself battling Azerbaijani aggression alone, with the Russian side serving as observers.

Recognizing the need to stop the conflict due to overwhelming forces and potential for increased casualties, Shahramanyan initiated negotiations. He revealed engaging with high-ranking Azerbaijani representatives, attempting to halt military operations. Azerbaijan's goal, Shahramanyan noted, was to dominate Artsakh entirely. Faced with substantial losses and besieged regions, Artsakh had no choice but to make concessions.

Negotiations led to the adoption of a document on September 20, calling for a cessation of military operations by 1:00 p.m. Alongside this, the dissolution of Artsakh's defense army and withdrawal of remnants of the Republic of Armenia's armed forces were agreed upon. Notably, the controversial demand for the withdrawal of the Republic of Armenia's armed forces from Artsakh, made by Azerbaijan, was challenged. Artsakh refused to sign under this condition, asserting that these forces were not present in Artsakh. A meeting in Yevlakh on September 21 was scheduled to discuss integration issues.

Addressing concerns about leaving military equipment in Artsakh, Shahramanyan clarified the impossibility of moving heavy weaponry to Armenia due to Azerbaijani checkpoints. Consequently, the equipment was handed over to the Russian side for disposal, as stipulated in the agreement.

Shahramanyan emphasized that every decision made aimed to preserve the lives of Artsakh's citizens, soldiers, and officers. Post-conflict, the Defense Army personnel passed through checkpoints without arrests, a testament to Artsakh's determination.


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