Armenia: ‘The war began because Turkey showed readiness for it’
YEREVAN, (BM) – The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is very close to a humanitarian catastrophe, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at a meeting with foreign ambassadors on Monday, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Bulgarian news agency Sega.
He also stressed that the ceasefire agreed by the foreign ministers of the two countries at a meeting in Moscow on Friday was not observed on the southern front.
Pashinyan again accused Azerbaijan of violating the agreement alone by trying to take the city of Hadrut as soon as the ceasefire took effect.
“We are close to a humanitarian catastrophe in the conflict zone, if not on the threshold, and the only way to prevent this is to recognize the right to self-determination and recognition of the independence of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Pashinyan said.
He stressed that fighting in the area would not have started if Turkey had not been ready to take part in it: “This war would not have started if Turkey had not shown its readiness to participate fully in it. I note that the fighting began as Turkey continues to engage in hostilities. It is still recruiting mercenaries and members of terrorist groups in Syria and delivering them to the conflict zone by air.”
At the same time, the representative of the Armenian Ministry of Defense Artsrun Hovhannisyan announced that for the last 24 hours the Air Force of Azerbaijan has performed 36 flights in support of Turkish aviation.
“The Azerbaijani Air Force, under cover of Turkish aviation and the assistance of air reconnaissance and air control, uses strike drones, performing 36 combat flights,” Hovhannisyan said, adding that an Azerbaijani Su-Assault aircraft was shot down during those flights. -25, and the day before – three drones, three units of armored vehicles and “200 soldiers of the enemy were destroyed.”
In total, according to the Armenian Unified Information Center, 173 drones, 16 helicopters, 18 planes, 521 units of armored vehicles and 4 heavy flamethrower systems have been destroyed since the beginning of the conflict. 5,139 Azerbaijani soldiers were killed.
Hovhannisyan added that Azerbaijan has divided the offensive in “3-4 directions, using heavy artillery in the Martaker direction.” The Armenian army had managed to drive out a “sabotage group from the city of Hadrut” and it was under the control of the Karabakh Defense Army.
And former Armenian Defense Minister Vagarshak Harutyunyan said the Azerbaijani army is using its full power until the Armenian army has reached its full potential. “They are using all the available weapons of Azerbaijan – missile systems, volley fire systems, mortars. We have not used everything yet, we are holding back. We are not fighting in the cities until they directly destroyed Stepanakert,” he added in an interview.
At the same time, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan announced that an attack by the Armenian army had been repulsed and in turn accused it of violating the armistice.
“Without respecting the humanitarian ceasefire regime, units of the Armenian Armed Forces are regrouping and relocating, and have attempted to attack small positions of the Azerbaijani army in some areas of the front,” the statement said.
It added that the Armenian side was shelling several areas in Azerbaijan near Nagorno-Karabakh: “Violating the ceasefire, the Armenian forces are shelling territories in the Geranboi, Terter, Agdam and Agjabedin regions.”
Only an hour later, Armenia categorically denied this through Defense Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan. “Through this absolute lie, the Azerbaijani side is preparing the ground for aggressive actions against peaceful settlements,” she added.
The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on September 27, active clashes are taking place in the disputed territory. Martial law was introduced in Azerbaijan and Armenia, and mobilization was announced. Both sides reported killed and wounded, including civilians. In Baku, they announced the control of several Karabakh villages and strategic heights. Yerevan also reports about the shelling of the territory of Armenia.
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.
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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