The situation in Nagorno Karabakh has escalated in recent weeks. On March 25, the authorities of Nagorno Karabakh confirmed that the Azerbaiajanis had taken control of the village of Parukh (Askeran region) in the area of responsibility of the Russian peacekeepers, trying to advance further. The Azerbaijani armed forces used combat drones, including the Bayraktar TB-2. According to official data, the Armenian side has 3 dead and 15 wounded servicemen.
The Fact Investigation Platform checked the fake and manipulative news that found their way in the media last weekend.
Martial law was declared in Nagorno Karabakh in 1992
On March 26, President of Nagorno Karabakh Arayik Harutyunyan signed a decree on temporary restrictions on rights and freedoms under martial law.
In particular, the right to freedom of assembly was restricted, labor strikes and other measures to suspend the activities of organizations were prohibited, as well as the activities of organizations campaigning against the defense and security of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh was suspended.
This decree was misinterpreted by several Armenian and international media outlets, which claimed that martial law had been declared in Nagorno Karabakh. Even the New York Times published such a news item, writing that “the President of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh Arayik Harutyunyan declared martial law without stating the reasons”.
And “Azatutyun” radio station (Radio Liberty) noted that martial law had been declared in Nagorno Karabakh since September 27, 2020.
In fact, martial law has been in force in Nagorno Karabakh since 1992, and the relevant law has been in force indefinitely since 2005.
The Russian peacekeeping mission was not withdrawn from Nagorno Karabakh
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, there have been occasional reports that units of the Russian peacekeeping mission in Nagorno Karabakh are being transferred to Ukraine to take part in hostilities.
Another similar news item was spread by Ukrainian users on March 27, citing Azerbaijani sources. Even the well-known Russian dissident blogger Maxim Katz spoke about the withdrawal of peacekeepers from Nagorno Karabakh during one of his regular broadcasts.
Рузкі виходять через Лачинський коридор. pic.twitter.com/q9qY6F1gxl
— свічка (@svecha62) March 27, 2022
The movement of several military (mostly non-passenger) vehicles, presumably in the Lachin corridor, was presented as evidence.
However, there is no other evidence to support the claim about the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from Nagorno Karabakh.
It should be noted that according to Clause 3 of the November 9 trilateral statement, a peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation was deployed along the line of contact in Nagorno Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor, including 1960 servicemen armed with firearms, 90 armored vehicles, 380 units of vehicles and special equipment.
The mess around Parukh village
Authorities of Nagorno Karabakh announced on March 25 that Azerbaijanis have taken control of Parukh village in Askeran region.
On March 27, the Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement announcing that as a result of the negotiations, the Azerbaijani side has withdrawn its troops from the village of Parukh in Nagorno Karabakh.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry immediately denied the information, noting that the statement of the Russian side did not reflect the reality.
The Armenian side did not make official statements for several hours, leaving the situation uncertain. On March 28, the Nagorno Karabakh Information Headquarters reported that the village of Parukh in the Askeran region was now under the control of a Russian peacekeeping force stationed in Nagorno Karabakh.
In its turn, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia addressed the issue in the afternoon of March 28, noting that the invasion of the Azerbaijanis in the Askeran region is ongoing.
“On March 27, the Russian Defense Ministry issued a press-release stating that the Azerbaijani side had withdrawn its units from the Parukh settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh. Nevertheless, we are compelled to note that the incursion of Azerbaijani units into Nagorno-Karabakh in the area of responsibility of the Russian Federation’s peacekeeping contingent is ongoing.
We consider it important to conduct a proper investigation into the actions of the peacekeeping contingent during this entire period of the incursion of Azerbaijani units, and answer a number of questions,“ the statement reads.