Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West is among an unexpected group of celebrities speaking up about a bloody conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The multi-millionaire has announced on Instagram she would donate $US1 million ($1.4 million) to Armenia Fund, a humanitarian organisation providing civilians with food, shelter and medical care.
It follows the deaths of hundreds of people since September 27, when the long-running dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region between Armenia and Azerbaijan flared up again.
The mountainous region, known as Artsakh to Armenians, is home to 150,000 majority ethnic Armenian people, but is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan.
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Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, tensions have simmered over who gets to control the region, turning it into a political powder keg.
Kardashian West, whose late father Robert Kardashian was Armenian, encouraged her fans to donate to the Armenian effort and make it the “most successful fundraiser ever”.
View this post on Instagram
I’m so honored to be part of today’s global effort to support the @armeniafund. I’ve been speaking out about the current situation in Armenia and Artsakh and having conversations with so many others to bring further awareness to the crisis that we cannot allow to advance. My thoughts and prayers are with the brave men, women and children. I want everyone to remember that despite the distance that separates us, we are not limited by borders and we are one global Armenian nation together. The @armeniafund is directly helping those that have been impacted during this critical time with humanitarian aid through food, shelter, and medical care. I will be donating $1M to assist their efforts on the ground and invite you to join me. Whether you are helping with just raising awareness and posting on social media or donating just $1, every bit helps. Let’s make this our most successful fundraiser ever. Thank you so much. 🇦🇲 ❤️💙🧡
A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on
The video aired during an Armenia Fund telethon on Saturday that raised more than $US30 million.
Sisters Kourtney and Khloe also made social media posts about the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, with Khloe calling on the “international community to condemn these attacks and restore peace to the region”.
And they’re not the only A-Listers getting behind the cause.
American singer Cher, 74, has also been using her enormous social media platform to draw attention to the conflict.
“LA is proud to be home to the largest Armenian diaspora,” one Twitter post retweeted by Cher said.
“We stand with the people of Armenia, urge our leaders in Washington to conduct the sustained and rigorous diplomacy necessary to bring peace to the Artsakh region.”
L.A. is proud to be home to the largest Armenian diaspora. We stand with the people of Armenia. urge our leaders in Washington to conduct the sustained and rigorous diplomacy necessary to bring peace to the Artsakh region. God Bless U 🇦🇲🇺🇸🙏🕊 pic.twitter.com/Ej8sKuZ02u
— 👼🏼Annie#CherCrew OG (@10peeps3) October 6, 2020
Cher was originally born Cherilyn Sarkisian to an American mother and an Armenian-American father.
The pop star travelled to Armenia in 1993.
In April, System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian shared a new song called Hayastane featuring lyrics written by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
The Armenian-American musician said 100 per cent of the song’s profits would go to the My Step Foundation in Armenia.
Other celebrities, like British singer-songwriter Elton John and American rappers Cardi B and Offset have also voiced their support for Armenia on social media.
However, they later removed their posts after suffering backlash from supporters of Azerbaijan.
Angry fans even went as far as accusing Cardi B of supporting terrorism, while others said she fell for misinformation.
I’m so sorry .We did not do our research. pic.twitter.com/SB3qudonSk
— iamcardib (@iamcardib) October 6, 2020
As long as tensions continue to rise, it’s unlikely the violent clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia will stop any time soon.
A ceasefire organised by Russia was supposed to end the recent outbreak of fighting at noon on Saturday local time, but it was quickly derailed.
Instead of putting down their weapons, Armenia and Azerbaijan blamed each other for breaking the truce with fresh attacks.
The Armenian military accused Azerbaijan of shelling an Armenian town, killing one civilian, while the Azerbaijani military claimed Armenia launched missile strikes and attempted offensives in the Agdere-Terter and the Fizuli-Jabrail areas.
Within hours, the ceasefire deal – which took 10 hours of talks in Moscow – was abandoned.
If the truce held, it would have marked a major diplomatic win for Russia, which has a security pact with Armenia but has also been building ties with Azerbaijan.