For many months, the Azeri dictatorial regime of Ilham Aliyev has been reigning terror over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. This region, which is mainly populated by Armenians, declared its independence but has been under Azeri control since 2020. For the first time, on Monday evening, September 12th, Azeri bombings took place directly on Armenian territory on the border with the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Artillery fire rang out in the middle of the night, heard by residents of the towns of Jermuk, Vardenis, and Goris, while the deployment of drones was observed around Lake Sevan. Gunfire was also heard in Kapan, in the south of the country. The area covered by the Azeri bombardment thus extends over the entire eastern flank of Armenia. Military positions as well as civilian buildings were targeted, as Jean-Christophe Buisson explains in his report for Le Figaro.
At least 49 Armenian soldiers died in these strikes. Azerbaijan, for its part, records 50 deaths. Russia claims to have negotiated a ceasefire, while Baku maintains that it has achieved “all its objectives.” The Azeri government explained that it was in a “retaliatory mood,” after a supposed ceasefire violation by the Armenian army: “a large-scale Armenian provocation,” explained the Azeri minister of defence.
A telephone conversation took place between Emmanuel Macron and President Aliyev. Macron expressed his “very great concern” about the situation between the two countries. On the Armenian side, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. They all regretted the aggression from Baku, which they considered “unacceptable.” The thesis of Azeri retaliation was not considered credible.
During the talks, Pashinyan said he hoped for “an appropriate response from the international community” to Azerbaijan’s “aggression.” For the time being, a response is slow in coming, in contrast to the international mobilisation in favour of Ukraine, which is being attacked by Russia. Recently, the European Union signed gas export agreements with Aliyev’s Azeri regime, to compensate for supply restrictions from Russia. These agreements have been denounced by some MEPs as a dangerous compromise, given the dictatorial nature of the regime in Baku and its oppression of the Armenian population. French MEP François-Xavier Bellamy renewed his warning in an emergency speech held at the European Parliament on Tuesday, September 13th.
Hélène de Lauzun studied at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris. She taught French literature and civilization at Harvard and received a Ph.D. in History from the Sorbonne. She is the author of Histoire de l’Autriche (Perrin, 2021).