Why did this church disappear?

BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher investigates the disappearance of an Armenian church that changed hands in the recent Nagorno-Karabakh war. An online video shows the church was intact when Azerbaijan took back the disputed territory. Azerbaijan has said ethnic Armenians are welcome to stay in Nagorno-Karabakh but Armenia has accused it of damaging and destroying Armenian cultural heritage left behind in the region, including churches and monuments. Both sides accuse the other of war crimes. Video journalist: Abdujalil Abdurasulov

Video Transcript

- What does the map say?

JONAH FISHER: Well, the map says it should be on the top of here.


- I think you show him the map.

JONAH FISHER: Yeah, a little bit further. OK, look. Just a little bit further on, there.

Well, the map says it should be on the top of here. Which seems rather unlikely. OK, so this looks to me like it could have been where that church was. OK, look here. It was definitely here. So we can see from the trees here, they're a very definite shape. You can see them over there, they match.

What happened to the church?

- What happened was the-- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

- During the war it was destroyed.

JONAH FISHER: It can't have been destroyed during the war, because there are videos of the Azeris here.


- No, it wouldn't happen.


- They destroyed it themselves.

JONAH FISHER: Can I show you something from when we went there? You can see it's been totally destroyed.

HIKMET HAJIYEV: Because it's a proper geolocation, I don't know. It needs to be checked. A policy of occupation was committed by Armenia against Azerbaijani people. And you have seen the level of destruction in Jabrayil, Fuzuli. More than eight cities of Azerbaijan have been destroyed. It's like a Hiroshima, or nuclear bomb, massive, has been used.



JONAH FISHER: Perhaps you'd like to apologize for what Armenia did in those occupied territories?

ARA AIVAZIAN: During the war, there were, you know, wrongdoings on every side. If there was any case, it was, let's say, an individual approach. It was not a state policy about that.

JONAH FISHER: Having been there, can I just say, it looks very systematic.

ARA AIVAZIAN: The same happens now in the territories that fall under control of Azerbaijan, particularly in the villages and cities of Hadrut region of Nagorno-Karabakh.