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Armenia Cancels Accreditation Of Russian Journalist After Report From Nagorno-Karabakh

Russian journalist Ilya Azar (file photo)
Russian journalist Ilya Azar (file photo)

Armenian authorities have canceled the accreditation of journalist Ilya Azar, a Moscow-based correspondent for Novaya gazeta, after a report he wrote stated scores of lives had been lost in a military conflict that broke out on September 27 in Azerbaijan’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azar wrote on Telegram on October 8 that he had received the accreditation specially to cover ongoing developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, where fighting between forces from Azerbaijan and Armenia in and around the breakaway region has surged to its worst level since the 1990s, when some 30,000 people were killed.

Azar also wrote that he was told that "the accreditation had been changed... during the process."

"The unofficial and main reason, as I was clearly hinted at, is my report from [the Nagorno-Karabakh city] Shushi and [the ethnic-Armenian forces-controlled city of] Lachin, which a representative of [the Armenian] Foreign Ministry said had caused a negative public reaction," Azar added.

In his report from the two cities, Azar interviewed local ethnic Armenians, who talked about Azerbaijani bombing of the House of Culture in Shushi, killing hundreds of ethnic-Armenian military and police officers, and criticized Yerevan for giving what they called "false" information about the situation and being unable to provide proper resistance to Baku's offensives.

In 2011, Azerbaijani authorities deemed Azar persona non grata for his journalistic activities in the breakaway region.

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