Azerbaijan has resumed shelling close to the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, local journalist Siranush Sargsyan reported from Stepanakert. According to the journalist, the sounds of gunfire could be heard “very close” to the city, causing panic among locals. Sargsyan also reported that there is no electricity, food or water in the city.
Another journalist based in Stepanakert, Marut Vanyan, shared a video featuring the sound of machine-gun fire, corroborating reports of ongoing shooting. The Nagorno-Karabakh Interior Ministry confirmed these events. ”Azerbaijan's armed forces, from neighboring districts near Stepanakert, have violated the ceasefire agreement and initiated gunfire with various calibers. Gunshots are even audible in the city center. As a precaution, we urge the population to seek shelter,” reads a report circulated by Armenian publications.
Meanwhile, a meeting between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan representatives is underway today in Yevlakh, Azerbaijan. Armenpress reports that the Armenian delegation comprises two members, including David Melkumyan, the head of the Artsakh Democratic Party faction in the Artsakh National Assembly. On the Azerbaijani side, the negotiations are led by Ramin Mammadov, an MP in the National Assembly.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Human Rights Ombudsman's office has reported that at least 200 people, including 10 civilians (five of whom were children) were killed as a result of the Azerbaijani army's attack on the region, which began on September 19. Hundreds more were injured.
On September 20, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that a vehicle used by Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh was targeted in an attack, leading to the deaths of all personnel on board. The incident did not provide specific casualty numbers or identify the attackers. Unconfirmed reports suggest that eight people may have lost their lives. Earlier in the day, Radio Azatutyun — Radio Liberty’s Armenian bureau — published an account from a nurse residing in the Karabakh village of Metz Shen. She alleged that Azerbaijani forces had fired on Russian peacekeeper vehicles while attempting to evacuate a group of children from Nagorno-Karabakh.
One of the Russian peacekeepers who lost their lives in the attack has been confirmed as Captain 1st Rank Ivan Kovgan.
State-owned outlet RIA Novosti, citing the Kremlin press service, reported that Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev apologized for the deaths of the Russian peacekeepers in a telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin earlier today. Aliyev pledged to initiate an investigation and offer financial support to the families of the victims.
In an interview with The Insider, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aykhan Hajizada said that there has been no deliberate targeting of the civilian population, and all casualties were “accidental.”