TBILISI, DFWatch–At least 18 natives of Georgia’s Javakheti region have died in the ongoing Karabakh war, an Akhalkalaki-based news website reports.
The list published on Jnews.ge includes both volunteers and military personnel. Many natives of Javakheti live in Armenia and hold Armenian citizenship. It’s not clear so far whether the list includes names of volunteers who enlisted in the Karabakh army after the outbreak of hostilities on September 27.
The photos of those fallen in Karabakh are displayed at Surb Khach (The Holy Cross) church in Akhalkalaki, an administrative center of Javakheti.
Georgia maintains friendly relationships with both warring countries and observes strong neutrality. Georgian laws prohibit its nationals from taking part in military operations abroad without formal permit from Tbilisi. Thus, Tbilisi is extremely reluctant to letting ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis support their ethnically kin states militarily.
In September, immediately after the Karabak war broke out, a number of ethnic Armenians in Ninotsminda and Akhalkalaki, two predominantly Armenian-populated cities in Javakheti, started to register as volunteers “to go to Artsakh and support the Armenian people and soldiers”. However, Georgian authorities barred them from crossing the border.
Corresponding radicalization is being reported from the Kvemo Kartli region of Georgia, which is densely populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis.