Armenian soldiers prepare to journey to the front line.
Armenian soldiers prepare to journey to the front line. Photo: Adrien Vautier

Haunting Photos From the Frontline of the War in Nagorno-Karabakh

French photographer Adrien Vautier spent a month documenting the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, including time on the front. He shared these photos exclusively with VICE News.

A version of this article originally appeared on VICE France.

No one really knows how many people have died since fresh fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh broke out at the end of September.

According to officials in the contested region, which lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994, 1,200 people have died, including dozens of civilians.


Azerbaijan has not disclosed military casualties, but says at least 91 civilians have died. Russian President Vladimir Putin meanwhile said last month that the overall death-toll was almost 5,000.

Acclaimed French photographer Adrien Vautier spent October documenting the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, including time at the frontline. Between the aerial bombardment and the incessant noise of drones flying overhead, many people are hiding underground, others have fled to the Armenian capital of Yerevan. Hospitals see fresh casualties every day. These are some of the photos, shared exclusively with VICE News, that Vautier sent back.

Warning: includes graphic images.


The cultural center in Shouchi, near to Nagorno-Karabakh's capital Stepanakert, was bombed on October 5, killing several dozen people.


Armo Gaspalyan owns a small grocery store in Stepanakert. One Sunday, while he was at the market, a bomb hit nearby houses. Since then he never stays far from his rifle.


A mother buries her son.


Inside the living room of a bombed-out apartment in a residential area of ​​Stepanakert.


On the top floor of a bombed-out building, a family clears out the apartment of their son, who left for the frontline.


Families of refugees have sought shelter in the small village of Tatev, in Armenia.


At the military cemetery in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.


A seriously-wounded soldier is prepared for surgery at the hospital in Stepanakert. He died of his wounds the next day.


The interior of a church that was destroyed when it was hit by artillery fire.


Hovik, a young soldier, and Mariam, are married in a church that was bombed at the start of the conflict.


During the early days of the war, older people chose to stay put in shelters all day during the bombardments.


Many families are now effectively living in their basements.