Astrik Akobian/Getty Images
More than half of Nagorno-Karabakh’s population has fled the breakaway region to Armenia in the past week.
A self-proclaimed republic Nagorno-Karabakh It will be suspended from next year after its president signed a decree to dissolve state institutions following its defeat to Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan’s victory last week triggered a massive exodus of Armenians living in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and marked the end of decades of conflict.
President Samvel Shahramanian’s decree calls for the dissolution of all non-internationally recognized institutions and organizations of the Republic of Artsakh by early next year.
“The Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) ceases to exist,” read a decree shared on Facebook by the Artsakh government.
Shahramanian said the decision was taken “due to the current difficult military-political situation”.
National Assembly of Artsakh Republic/Photo/AP/File
Samvel Shakramanian signed the decree on Thursday agreeing to dissolve all government agencies from January 1, 2024.
Azerbaijan’s campaign lasted 24 hours, with Karabakh’s armed forces disbanding before both sides agreed to a Russia-brokered ceasefire. But the Azerbaijan presidency also insisted that the Artsakh government disband itself, warning that the offensive would continue “until the end” if they did not.
The decree required Azerbaijan to observe “the free, unimpeded and unrestricted passage of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, including fighters who have laid down their arms, their property and transportation facilities through the corridor of Lach.”
Nagorno-Karabakh remains within Azerbaijan’s borders, but has operated autonomously with its own de facto government for decades. After Azerbaijan’s blitzkrieg — which killed at least 200 people and injured hundreds more — Baku claimed it had regained control of the region, ending more than a century of conflict.
Azerbaijan has long been clear about the choice local Armenians have to make: stay and accept Azerbaijani citizenship or leave. A majority of people have voted with their feet, choosing to flee their ancestral home rather than submit to Baku’s rule.
More than half of Nagorno-Karabakh’s population has fled to Armenia in the past week, after Azerbaijan lifted the blockade of the Lachin Corridor – the only route allowing people to leave – and the only road connecting Armenia.
About 60,000 people had crossed the border into Armenia as of Thursday morning, with many arriving in less than a week. “Worse” conditionSamantha Power visited the border town of Kornitzer on Tuesday, according to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Nagorno-Karabakh has been under siege for 10 months after pro-Azerbaijani activists established a military checkpoint along the Lachin corridor, blocking the import of food, medicine and fuel into the country. Before the attack began, CNN spoke to residents of the region’s capital, Stephanakert, who said they had to wait in line for hours each day to receive their daily bread.
“Last week’s military attacks have made a bad situation even worse,” Power said on Tuesday, adding that many of those arriving were “severely malnourished”.