The new commander of the Karabakh Defense Army, Major-General Jalal Harutiunian, served as Abrahamian’s first deputy and chief of the army’s General Staff until now.

Like his predecessors, Harutiunian, 45, is a decorated veteran of the 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan. He joined newly formed Karabakh forces in 1992 at the age of 17 and mostly served in artillery units during and after the war.

Harutiunian rose through army ranks after graduating from a Russian military academy in the early 2000s. In 2016, then Karabakh army chief Movses Hakobian described him as one of the army’s best officers.

Harutiunian was promoted to the rank of major-general in July last year.

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