The de facto Armenian administration of Nagorno-Karabakh declared its readiness to surrender to Azerbaijan, avoiding further bloodshed following the start of the latter’s offensive a day earlier.
The population of the region has been under Azerbaijani blockade since December. The local army, the Artsakh Defense Force, had no help from Armenia this time, and was massively outgunned.
On September 20, the Nagorno-Karabakh de facto authorities announced that they had reached agreement on the "complete cessation of hostilities," through the mediation of the Russian peacekeepers, from 1 pm local time.
They agreed to the withdrawal of the remaining units of the armed forces of Armenia (Armenia's prime minister said on September 19 that the country had no units in Karabakh) and the "dissolution and complete disarmament" of the Artsakh Defense Force.
The announcement said that Azerbaijani proposals on "reintegration and ensuring the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as ensuring the livelihood of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh within the framework of the Constitution of Azerbaijan" would be discussed at a meeting between Azerbaijani and Karabakhi Armenian representatives in the Azerbaijani town of Yevlakh on September 21 and at subsequent meetings.
Shortly afterwards, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry released a statement confirming the agreement and that the meeting in Yevlakh would be mediated by the Russian peacekeeping contingent stationed in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Earlier in the day, the newly elected de facto president of Nagorno-Karabakh, Samvel Shahramanyan, convened a security council meeting where he said that given the "inadequate" response of the international community to Azerbaijan's offensive, the de facto authorities were "forced to take appropriate steps, aimed first and foremost at ensuring the physical safety of the population."
Amid the Azerbaijani offensive on September 20, reportedly 7,000 people were evacuated from remote villages of Nagorno-Karabakh, which were under heavy shelling, to the region’s de facto capital Stepanakert.
And after the announcement of the ceasefire, many rushed to the airport in the town of Khojaly, where Russian peacekeepers are headquartered, hoping to be evacuated to Armenia.
The number of killed and wounded on the Karabakhi Armenian side has yet to be tallied but former official Artak Beglaryan posted on X (formerly Twitter) that at least five children had been killed and 13 had been wounded.
Azerbaijan has not spoken about its own casualties. Berlin-based independent outlet Meydan TV has identified 15 slain Azerbaijani soldiers so far. Besides, one civilian was killed in Shusha, and one was wounded in Aghdam by Armenian fire.
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