Karabakh's Vardanyan: Close to 100 killed, hundreds injured by Azerbaijan's 'war'
A former top official in Nagorno-Karabakh's ethnic Armenian administration said on Wednesday that close to 100 people had been killed and hundreds more injured in the breakaway region after Azerbaijan started what he called a "big war".
"This is a big war - Azerbaijan has started a full operation," Ruben Vardanyan, former head of the breakaway region's government, told Reuters from Karabakh.
He said Azerbaijan's forces continued the military operation through the night and into Wednesday.
"Already hundreds of people have been injured and close to 100 people have been killed," Vardanyan said.
"They are basically saying to us that we need to leave, not stay here, or accept that this is a part of Azerbaijan - this is basically a typical ethnical cleansing operation and a war with a lot of civilians now being killed."
Azerbaijani forces firing Belarusian 300mm Polonez MLRS, attacking rear military installations of the Armenian Army in Karabakh. pic.twitter.com/98OuoMJBy0— Clash Report (@clashreport) September 20, 2023
Azerbaijan rejects accusations that its aim is to ethnically cleanse Karabakh and says it will protect the rights of the area's ethnic Armenian civilians under its own constitution.
It says it is determined however to remove the breakaway region's political and military structures.
But Vardanyan said the world was ignoring the fate of Karabakh.
"Russia is silent and Russia is basically ignoring this whole military operation. But not only Russia but the world also is silent," Vardanyan said. "Nobody is doing anything: everyone is ignoring this, Russia is silent but so is the West."
"Can you imagine what happens if 120,000 people go to Armenia?"