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W Weekly Update

8-15 April

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Weekly update


15 April
Azerbaijan ordered its weightlifting team to leave Armenia after the country’s flag was set ablaze during the opening ceremonies on Friday of the European Weightlifting Championships, which are being held in Yerevan’s Karen Demirchian Sports Complex. According to a fashion designer who worked on the 90-minute show snatched the flag from a young woman during the parade of athletes and set it on fire in a move later defended on social media, the International Weightlifting Federation’s “Inside the Games” news site reported. Aram Nikolyan, who works for a television company, was caught, and detained by police but later released without charge. “The incident that happened during the opening ceremony, which was resolved very quickly, has nothing to do with the safety of the athletes and ensuring their normal competitions. “The Republic of Armenia remains committed to fulfilling its commitments to the International Weightlifting Federation and reaffirms the readiness to hold the European championship 2023 at a high level,” the Armenian ministry added. The European Weightlifting Federation condemned the incident calling it “an attack on the integrity of sport values.” The competitions for the weightlifting championships, which will run until April 23, began on Saturday.


14 April
A number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dealing with the issues of refugees who fled Azerbaijan, Nakhichevan and Artsakh, were forcibly displaced from their homeland, or left their motherland because of the racist, xenophobic, genocidal actions of the Azerbaijani authorities in 1988-1992 and 2020, who currently live in the Republic of Armenia and elsewhere, organize a conference "Old and new refugees of Azerbaijani aggression: past, present, future", which will take place in April 29 at Karen Demirchyan Sport and Concert Complex in Yerevan. According to during the conference, the international political assessment of the crimes committed by Azerbaijan against the Armenian citizens of the country: Armenian pogroms in Sumgait, Baku, deportation, forced displacement and ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population in the Shahumyan region, the lack of judicial and legal actions, as well as the restoration of the rights of refugees, including the right to return, will be discussed at the conference. The conference will also discuss and address the rights of refugees from Azerbaijan, Artsakh and Nakhichevan, property and other losses, lost documents, the cultural genocide carried out and being carried out in that area.


13 April
The second Azerbaijani servicemen who crossed into Armenian territory on April 10 and was missing since then was found and taken into custody by Armenian authorities on April 13, the Ministry of Defense announced Thursday. In line with “On April 13, the second Azerbaijani servicemen was found and arrested in the territory of the Republic of Armenia,” the Ministry of Defense said in a statement. An Azerbaijani soldier was detained in Armenia on Monday after crossing the border. He claimed to have crossed into Armenia together with another Azerbaijani serviceman. On April 12, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said that the Azerbaijani soldier detained in Armenia on Monday deserted his unit after being ill-treated by his Azerbaijani comrades.


12 April
On April 11, around 4:00 p.m., the units of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces opened fire in the direction of the Armenian Armed Forces soldiers carrying out engineering works in the direction of the Tegh community. After the answer from the Armenian side, the opponent was silent. About 15 minutes later, the shooting resumed. The Azerbaijani side has again started shooting at the Armenian positions in the Tegh community. Armen Gyozalyan, commander of the special army corps, is also among the wounded, whose condition is satisfactory by doctors. According to, in the evening, the enemy continued to fire intensively in the direction of the Armenian positions on the border of the Tegh community. Although the intensity of the skirmish had decreased significantly, the residents of the Tegh community took shelter in their basements, and some were in the village shelter. According to sources, six wounded are on the Armenian side. Two injured were operated on in the regional medical center.


11 April
At least three Azerbaijani and four Armenian soldiers were killed on Tuesday in fresh fighting that broke out on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. According to the Armenian Defense Ministry said that its troops came under Azerbaijani fire late in the afternoon as they fortified their positions outside Tegh, a border village in southeastern Syunik province. It said they returned fire. The skirmishes left four Armenians soldiers dead and six others wounded, according to the ministry. Tegh residents told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that the fist exchange of automatic gunfire lasted for about 30 minutes. The Defense Ministry said about an hour later that the fighting resumed and intensified, with Azerbaijani forces using mortars. The Armenian opposition blamed Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s government for Baku’s fresh territorial gains. Opposition leaders said the Armenian army or border guards should have taken up positions along the Armenian side of the Tegh border section ahead of the Azerbaijani advance. Many Tegh residents also blamed the government for what they see as a serious threat to their security. Tuesday’s border clashes heightened their fears.


10 April
Prosecutor-General Anna Vardapetian on Monday asked the Armenian parliament for permission to indict one of its opposition members who punched a pro-government colleague in disputed circumstances. In line with the violence occurred during an ill-tempered meeting of the parliament committee on legal affairs held on March 31. It reportedly followed a shouting match between Vladimir Vartanian, the committee chairman, and Mher Sahakian of the main opposition Hayastan alliance. Sahakian was detained by police but set free three days later. He said he hit Vartanian because the latter spoke disrespectfully and then stood up and walked menacingly towards him. Vartanian, who represents Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s Civil Contract party, denied that, saying the assault was unprovoked. Vardapetian backed the pro-government parliamentarian’s version of events in her letter asking the National Assembly to allow prosecutors to charge Sahakian with two counts of “hooliganism.” The chief prosecutor, who worked as an aide to Pashinian until last summer, stopped short of requesting a separate permission to arrest the opposition deputy pending investigation. The parliament controlled by Civil Contract is expected to discuss and vote on lifting Sahakian’s immunity from prosecution on Tuesday.


9 April
The 2020 Nagorno Karabakh war has significantly altered the power balance of the South Caucasus, effectively dismantling the 1994-2020 security architecture. According to experts and academic circles still debate who won or lost due to the war. However, almost all agree that Iran is among the losers. The 2020 war increased Turkey’s influence in the region, apparently brought Azerbaijani armed forces under complete Turkish control and made Azerbaijan and Turkey much closer to the realization of a century–long dream of establishing a direct land corridor. Even more worrisome for Iran was the appearance of Israel in the newly-captured territories along the Azerbaijan–Iran border. Azerbaijan has cultivated strong defense and security cooperation with Israel since the early 2010s. However, the control by the self-proclaimed Nagorno Karabakh Republic of 135 kilometers of borders with Iran gave Tehran flexibility and confidence that those areas would not be used for anti-Iranian activities. The 2020 war changed that situation dramatically, as Azerbaijan allowed Israel to enter those territories under the pretext of reconstruction activities and the establishment of smart villages.


8 April
The United States Department of Defense said including Armenia in the list of participating countries of the Defender 23 military exercises happened by mistake. According to in response to a query by the Voice of America, the Department of Defense said Armenia never participated in the Defender 23 drills and wasn’t supposed to be included in the list and that it happened as a result of an error by the Pentagon’s internal press team. The U.S. Department of Defense removed Armenia on Thursday from the list of participants of the upcoming U.S.-led military exercise in Europe released by it on Wednesday. The Armenian military said it plans to participate in two other US-led military exercises this year – KFOR and Saber Junction.

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