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Eyes wide open: Baku threatens Yerevan with a blow to nuclear power plant

BAKU, (BM) – Against the backdrop of the ongoing border conflict, Baku and Yerevan exchanged harsh statements about the possibility of striking at the most important infrastructure facilities of the two countries, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

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In particular, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan warned that in the event of an attack on the Mingachevir reservoir, the military could launch a missile strike at the nuclear power plants in Armenia.

“The Armenian side should not forget that the new missile systems that are in the arsenal of our army make it possible to launch high-precision strikes at the Metsamor nuclear power plant, which could lead to a great catastrophe for Armenia,” Vagif Dargyahly, the press service head of the Azerbaijani military department, quotes TASS.

At the same time, he emphasized that “the relief of the area on which the Mingachevir reservoir is located, the strengthening work carried out at this structure and the modern air defense systems available to the air defense forces will not allow a strike at this strategic target.”

Official Yerevan believes that a statement by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense about a possible missile strike at the Metsamor NPP is a crime. This was stated during the briefing by the official representative of the defense department Artsrun Hovhannisyan.

“I want to emphasize that the official representatives of Armenia have never talked about the possibility of attacking the civilian infrastructure of Azerbaijan. We do not even fire at home. Our diplomats and politicians are already engaged in a statement about a possible strike at the Metsamor NPP. Such statements are criminal,” he said.

The clashes that began on July 12 on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border continue on the fifth day in the neighboring regions of Tovuz and Tavush, which also border Georgia and are several hundred kilometers from unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh, where the situation is calm now.

Read more: Azerbaijan and Armenia are fighting on the border, there are dead soldiers

In the place of shelling there are military posts deployed near the village of Movses. According to Baku, 11 Azerbaijani soldiers, including the general, were killed. The Armenian side announced the death of two officers and five wounded.

Azerbaijan and Armenia blame the shelling on each other. A number of countries and international organizations expressed concern about the situation and called for dialogue. The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was ready to assist Baku and Yerevan to stabilize the situation.

Reference from BulgarianMilitary.com

The Mingachevir reservoir was created on the Kura River in the 1950s during the construction of the dam of the Mingachevir hydroelectric station. It is an important object for the development of electricity, agriculture in Azerbaijan.

Ensuring the safety of the Mingachevir hydroelectric power station is one of the important issues of national security of the republic. According to some estimates, the destruction of the dam on the Mingachevir reservoir can lead to flooding of a significant part of the country.

The Armenian NPP is the only nuclear infrastructure facility in the republic. It was commissioned in 1979 near the city of Metsamor and stopped in 1989 after the devastating 1988 Spitak earthquake. In 1995, it was re-opened with the participation of Russian specialists, after which the industrial operation of the second power unit of the station resumed.

Read more: The tension escalates: Armenia and Azerbaijan resumed the battles on the border

A nuclear power plant generates about a third of all electricity in Armenia, the cost of which is much lower than that produced at thermal power plants and hydroelectric power stations.

What is happening at the moment in the relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan?

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported on Thursday about the ongoing tension in the Tovuz direction of the Azerbaijani-Armenian border and the resumption of fightings, as we reported.

“Starting from the morning of July 16, the Armenian Armed Forces again made an attempt to attack the positions of the Azerbaijani army on the section of the Azerbaijani-Armenian border in the Tovuz region,” the statement said.

According to the defense department, the villages of Agdam, Dondar Gushchu and Vahidli were fired from large-caliber weapons and mortars, and there were no casualties among the civilian population.

“At present, there is a battle in this direction. The operational situation is under the control of the Azerbaijani army,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

In turn, the Ministry of Defense of Armenia reported that the Azerbaijani units tried to commit sabotage, after which they began to shell the border villages of Aygepar and Movses.

The situation on the northern part of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border escalated on July 12. Azerbaijan announced an attempt by the Armenian Armed Forces to attack the positions of the republic’s army using artillery, while in Yerevan they called the reason for the exacerbation of the breakthrough attempt from the Azerbaijani side.

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In Baku, reported the eleven dead of the Azerbaijani army in three days of clashes, including Major General Polad Hashimov. Yerevan claimed the death of four and injured ten soldiers.

The Azerbaijani Armed Forces on the morning of July 13 resumed shelling of Armenian positions on the state border in the direction of the Tavush region of Armenia, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense of the Republic Shushan Stepanyan said.

“After a two-three-hour break in the morning [Monday, July 13], the enemy resumed provocative actions, continuing shelling at Armenian positions. The Armenian Armed Forces gave an adequate response. An increase in losses in the ranks of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces is not excluded,” the representative of the Armenian military department wrote on her Facebook page.

The press service of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti on the night of July 13 that the Armenian military was shelling a village on the border.

At the same time, Stepanyan noted that shelling with varying intensity is carried out from the Azerbaijani side, but all attempts are neutralized.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported on the afternoon of July 12 that units of the Armenian Armed Forces tried to attack the positions of the Azerbaijani army in the Tovuz direction of the border using artillery.

Read more: Russian-Made MiG-29 Aircraft of the Azerbaijani Air Force Crashed During Training Flights

According to the military, after that, a battle ensued. According to Baku, the enemy suffered losses and retreated. The ministry said that two Azerbaijani soldiers were killed in the battle, five were injured. Later, another soldier died from the wounds received.

In turn, Shushan Stepanyan, quoted by Interfax, said that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces at around 12:30 on July 12 attempted to violate the state border in the Tavush direction in an UAZ car. According to her, after the warning of the Armenian side, the enemy left the car and returned to its positions.

“At 13:45, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, using artillery fire, tried to seize our stronghold, but were thrown back from their positions by fire, bearing casualties,” the spokeswoman said.

According to the Minister of Defense of Armenia David Tonoyan, the military on the border with Azerbaijan is ordered to be restrained.

As Shushan Stepanyan wrote on her Facebook, he made the corresponding statement in a conversation with the personal representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. As noted by Tonoyan, in case of provocation, the Armenian military will react as necessary, “until the occupation of new favorable positions.”

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been in conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh since February 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan SSR.

During the armed conflict in 1992-1994, the Azerbaijani side lost control of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven areas adjacent to it. Since 1992, negotiations have been conducted within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group on a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The group is led by co-chairs – Russia, USA and France.

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In 1994, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, through the mediation of Russia, signed the Bishkek Armistice Protocol. At the same time, military operations did not stop there, which periodically renewed.

The most significant exacerbation of the conflict was the four-day war of 2016. Then hundreds of soldiers on both sides became victims.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a meeting with the President of Azerbaijan last year, called for a rhetoric that would go against the fundamental principles endorsed by both sides and enshrined in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act when resolving the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh.

At the same time, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry admitted that much more needs to be done to achieve a long-term political settlement.

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