09/27/2020, 13.43
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Clashes in the Caucasus. The Armenian Catholicos interrupts official visit to Italy and the Vatican

by Pierre Balanian

Azerbaijani bombings in the Marduni region (Karabakh): at least 10 dead.  The Armenians shot down two helicopters and 14 attack drones.  State of emergency proclaimed.  The destabilizing factor of Turkey.  Karekine II's Message to the Armenian Nation.


Echmiadzin (AsiaNews) - Patriarch Karekine II, the Catholicos of all Armenians, based in Echmiadzin, has interrupted his official visit to Italy and shortened the meeting scheduled for today with Pope Francis.  He said he was returning to his homeland to be close to his people at this critical time of armed aggression.

In the early hours of this morning, the armed forces of Azerbaijan interrupted the truce and attacked with intense bombing the nearby Republic of Nagorno Karabagh, mostly inhabited by Armenians, whose secession from the Soviet Union is not recognized by the international community and fought by Azerbaijan.  After a bloody war in 1991-1993, the two sides signed a ceasefire and started a dialogue to find a solution that is slow to come.

So far, there have been 10 Armenian soldiers from the Marduni region (Karabakh) who died while sleeping during the surprise armed attack launched by Azerbaijan.  The Armenians had managed to shoot down 2 helicopters and 14 attack drones as this article was going to print.  The Armenian forces are trying to repel any attempt at invasion and territorial advancement.

The Echmiadzin Press Office issued a Message from Karekine II to the nation: "Sons and daughters of the Armenian people, early this morning, once again violating the armistice and their own commitments, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces have passed offensively across the entire border line, bombing unarmed centers of Artsakh [Armenian name of Nagorno Karabagh] including the capital Stepanakert.  Artsakh, part of our homeland, calls us once again to defend the rights of our nation, our sacred lands, our future and national honor.  We urge our people and all political forces to unite, putting aside all oppositions in the name of defending the homeland. At this moment, while we are visiting Italy where we should have met our much loved brother Pope Francis of Rome, we immediately interrupt our visit to reach the homeland.  May God protect Artsakh, may he support our brave soldiers and their commanders ".

 The Presidency of the Republic of Karabakh as well as the Republic of Armenia have proclaimed a state of emergency and general mobilization to deal with Azerbaijani aggression.

From Turkey, an ally and supporter of Shiite Azerbaijan, a spokesman for President Recep Tayyep Erdogan accused Yerevan in a tweet of attacking "civilian locations" in Azerbaijan without mentioning where or when.

This morning, Moscow asked the two sides to apply an immediate "ceasefire" and launch "talks between the belligerents".

In 2016, ISIS fighters appeared among Azerbaijani fighters who entered Karabakh villages and carried out massacres, beheadings and mutilations of corpses, in a dangerous precedent of resorting to foreign Islamic terrorists in the Caucasus.

 According to the Armenians, Turkey has become a destabilizing force in the Eastern Mediterranean and is implicated in armed conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Cyprus, also threatening Greece and Egypt.  In supporting Azerbaijan against Armenia, Turkey today accused the Armenians of being a "threat to the stability of the Caucasus".

Since this morning, thousands of Armenian volunteers have poured into the barracks to go to fight.  "The victory will be ours" promised the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinian, inviting citizens not to heed unofficial news and not to spread uncertain news on social media.  Azerbaijan has silenced all social media in the country except Twitter, used by the Azerbaijani president.

“We pray for peace and we don't want war.  But they impose it on us.  And since they want war, they will have war, ”said the leader of the Republic of Karabakh Araik Arutyiunian.

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