Elections are taking place on Tuesday in the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR). 14 candidates are contesting for the post of president, whilst 10 political parties and two blocs are contesting seats for the territory's parliament.
The number of voters is 103,663, according to the de facto NKR authorities. Voting closes at 2000 local time.
The elections are being held amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. There have not been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nagorno-Karabakh, but special precautions are in place at polling stations.
Elections in Nagorno-Karabakh are not recognised by the international community since the displaced Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh does not participate.
A statement by the spokesperson of the European Union on Tuesday stated
In view of the so-called 'presidential and parliamentary elections' in Nagorno-Karabakh on 31 March 2020, the European Union reiterates that it does not recognise the constitutional and legal framework within which they are being held. This event cannot prejudice the determination of the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh or the outcome of the ongoing negotiation process.
The EU recalls its firm support to the OSCE Minsk Group and, in particular, to its Co-Chairs' efforts to bring about progress beyond the status quo and substantive negotiations towards comprehensive and sustainable peace. The EU stands ready to further support efforts, aimed at early, peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Specialists at the University of Sheffield in the UK estimate that the blast had about one tenth of the explosive power of the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima during World War Two and was "unquestionably one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions in history".