Developments in Karabakh: Speech, casualties and detentions


In recent developments concerning the South Caucasus region, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, delivered a speech during the 74th International Astronautical Congress held in Baku on October 2.

In his address, President Aliyev claimed that the South Caucasus had entered a phase of peace, emphasizing the importance of cooperation and mutual benefit in the region. He stated, “Today we can enter a period of peace in the South Caucasus. This is our opinion.”

Regarding the resolution of the Karabakh conflict, President Aliyev mentioned, “The experience of restoring our territorial integrity is a unique event. We ended the conflict and, as a result, preserved our dignity and restored international law.”

Additionally, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan released information about the identities of five more servicemen who lost their lives in military operations in Karabakh on September 19-20. This brought the official number of casualties to 204 individuals. The initial published list included 193 casualties, consisting of 180 servicemen from the Ministry of Defense, 12 employees from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and one civilian. Furthermore, local operations resulted in 511 Azerbaijani military personnel and one civilian being injured. There were differing accounts of the death toll, with some reports indicating 200 fatalities.

In a related development, it has been reported that Arkady Ghukasyan (1997-2007), Bako Sahakyan (2007-2020), Araik Harutyunyan (2020-2023), former “presidents” of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh), and David Ishkhanyan, former “parliament chairman” of the territory, have been detained by the State Security Service of Azerbaijan. These individuals are facing legal proceedings for their alleged involvement in activities over the years.

Moreover, on September 27, Ruben Vardanyan, the former “minister of state” of Nagorno-Karabakh was arrested. Subsequently, on September 30, the General Prosecutor’s Office announced charges against Davit Klimovich Babayan, the detained “deputy chief of presidential staff”, and Lyova Mnatsakanyan, the former “defense minister” of the territory. These developments have occurred against the backdrop of the dissolution decree issued by Samvel Shahramanyan on September 28, 2023, which he linked to the prevailing situation at that time.

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