Another Karabakh Soldier Killed Ahead of Talks

Armen Hovhannisyan

STEPANAKERT, YEREVAN—Another soldier of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was killed on the border while repelling a two-pronged attack by Azeri soldiers, ahead of talks between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan scheduled for January 24.

Karabakh Army junior sergeant Armen Hovhannisyan was killed on January 20 after overnight combat to quell Azeri attacks at the Karabakh-Azerbaijan border.

The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Ministry’s press office reported that late on January 19 and into the early hours of January 20 Karabakh forces had to resort to active defenses to stop two simultaneous attacks by Azeri forces in the northeastern (Jraberd) and southeastern (Korgan) directions near Karabakh.

“Spotting the actions of the Azeri sabotage groups in both directions the detachments of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Army switched to organized defens and, inflicting considerable personnel and material losses on the enemy, forced them to retreat to their original positions,” said a statement from the Karabakh Defense Ministry.

The ministry said Hovhannisyan “courageously executing the combat task was killed with an enemy bullet.”

Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian signed a decree awarding Hovhannisyan the Karabakh Medal of Courage “for bravery shown during the defense of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic state border.” He will be buried at Yerablour National Cemetery.

The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Foreign Ministry condemned the attack, saying that the Azeris continue to undermine the efforts of the OSCE Minks Group Co-chairmen.
Subversive actions of Azerbaijan undermine the efforts of the Minsk Group Co-charimen.

“The defiant actions of the Azeri side, especially on the eve of the scheduled meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, prove the aggressive intentions of Azerbaijan and seriously undermine the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries aimed at a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh,” said a statement by Karabakh’s Foreign Ministry.

“Yet another flagrant violation of the cease-fire by the armed forces of Azerbaijan that led to bloodshed should be strongly condemned and receive an adequate assessment of the international community,” added the Karabakh Foreign Ministry.

The US Minsk Group co-chairmen James Warlick said border skirmishes undermine his group’s efforts to address the conflict resolution process, once again, failing to condemn Azerbaijan for its continued provocation along the line of contact.

“Violence and tensions along the Line of Contact undermine efforts to bring about a negotiated settlement,” said Warlick said in a Twitter post, adding that he regrets the death as a result of the border incident in the early hours of January 20.

President Serzh Sarkisian met with the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Philippe Lefort, and expressed his concern regarding this latest violations of the cease-fire by Azerbaijan and emphasized that they create serious obstacles for the further progress of the peace process.

Meanwhile in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said only the parties fo the conflict can achieve lasting peace in the region.

“Russia, along with the other OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries, is trying to contribute to this dialogue on the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The Co-Chairs have concrete proposals, which the parties have not rejected, but additional efforts are needed to reach an agreement. We are ready to contribute to the settlement, but cannot do the work for the parties,” Lavrov told a news conference.

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  1. bigmoustache said:

    we should publically and officially condemn the OSCE Minsk Group for not being fair in criticizing Azerbaijan. we should pull out of the negotiations to show the international mediators that we are serious.
    every time Azerbaijan violates the ceasefire we get a bunch of 2 sided comments from the mediators about “both sides” etc.
    recognize Artsakh already!

  2. Hay said:

    Correction, Armen Hovhannisyan was not killed “at the border by Azeri snipers” as the opening paragraph states, but was killed in a fire-fight while courageously repelling a subversive enemy unit which was intent on infiltrating and causing maximum harm. You mention this later on in the article, but please get you details correct from the onset. While there have been several recent incidents of soldiers dying from distant sniper fire (without any direct fire fights between units taking place), this was not such a case. This young man is a hero and I am reminded of “Chimacyal mah@ mahe, imacyal mah@ anmahutyun.” I am personally very saddened at each and every loss, and wish we wouldn’t have to even need soldiers. But unfortunately the reality isn’t always a fairy-tale. While many arm-chair critics here sip coffee and complain about everything in their comfortable homes, these young men put their lives on the line every day to protect whatever little we have left. What have you recently done for your country?

  3. ARA said:

    they only know 1 thing-a bullet in their head-100 or more to every one of ours-

  4. Ishkhan said:

    Նրանք հա պիտի սպանեն եւ դուք էլ նորեն նրանց հետ ձերք ձերքի տալով մի սեղանի նստեք որ միայն OSCE Minsk Group- ին գոհ պահեք
    Պետքէ տասով փոխարինել եւ նրանց հետ սեղանի չը նստել միչեւ նրանք կարգի գան Բուժումը այս է
    մի թե հայ զինվորը ձեզ համար անարժեք է

  5. GeorgeMardig said:

    Mr. Lavrov should remember that, Russia has a defence deal with Armenia and he should defend agressions comming from outside of the borders, saying only the parties for the conflict can achieve lasting peace in the region is a way of not standing by the defence agreements signed

    • Sokimag said:

      In fairness to Russia, if Artsakh gets invaded, Russia has no obligation to defend, because Artsakh is not officially part of Armenia. I’m not saying I agree with it, but that what the defence agreement stipulates.

      I would not rely on Russia at all. Russia has shown it’s true colours by being neutral on the Artsakh war conflict. And to this day is still neutral despite we having a defence deal with Russia and willing to join the CU.

    • Armenian said:

      Do you expect Russia to stand by its agreement? Nobody will stand by Armenia if Armenia cannot even stand-up for itself. All of those praising Serjhik can thank his policy of kissing Kremlin ass, and putting all of our eggs in a basket that’s eventually going to plop down on our heads when the timing’s right.

      Let’s work on ourselves as a people, and stop looking for a new host to cling and live off of.

    • said:

      I’m pretty sure Lavrov remembers the defense deal in detail. The bottom line is that this is to protect Armenia from NATO Turkey. Armenia must be under attack and must request assistance.

    • Serj said:

      Do we retaliate likewise? It is about time to give them their own medicine. Don’t worry, Azeri do not dare to launch a full scale war…