These days mark the 29th anniversary of the occupation of the Shahumyan region of the Republic of Artsakh. As a result of a large-scale offensive launched on June 12, 1992, the Shahumyan region was completely captured by the Azerbaijani armed forces by mid-June 1992. During the occupation, the Azerbaijani army committed numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity, including deliberate execution of people who tried to leave the occupied settlements, extrajudicial killings of prisoners and hostages, preventing the evacuation of civilians, shelling from heavy weapons civilian infrastructure.
“As a result of the occupation of the Shahumyan region and the ensuing ethnic cleansing, about twenty Armenian villages were looted, burned and destroyed, over 20 thousand people were forced to leave their homes and became internally displaced persons and refugees, hundreds of people were brutally killed or have gone missing. The subsequent offensive of the Azerbaijani armed forces on the Martakert region led to the occupation of almost half of Artsakh and drove the Republic to the verge of humanitarian catastrophe. However, thanks to their unshakable spirit and strong will, perseverance and selfless struggle, the people of Artsakh, with the support of All Armenians, managed to undermine Azerbaijan’s plans to annihilate the Republic of Artsakh and its citizens,” Artsakh’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“In September-November 2020, Azerbaijan, with the direct military participation of Turkey and international terrorists, again tried to implement its criminal and xenophobic plans and do what it failed to do in 1991-94. In the course of the new armed aggression, Azerbaijan and its supporting forces committed war crimes and crimes against humanity on an even larger scale and with greater regularity. The new war has led to even greater human suffering, a new wave of refugees and internally displaced persons, and the occupation of a large part of the Republic of Artsakh,” the statement reads.
“The Shahumyan region is an integral part of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, the historical territory of Artsakh, where our people realized their inalienable right to self-determination and subsequently established their statehood. The de-occupation of the Shahumyan region and other territories of Artsakh occupied in 1991-1994, 2016 and 2020, along with the recognition of the right to self-determination exercised by its people, is a key element of a comprehensive settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict and the establishment of a lasting peace in the region. The ongoing illegal occupation of the territories of Artsakh is a constant source of threats to regional peace and security in the South Caucasus,” the Ministry stated.