BAKU, (BM) – 2,783 Azerbaijani soldiers died in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan’s defense ministry said on Thursday, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Defence24. So far, Baku did not report the losses suffered by the Azerbaijani army in the struggle for a separatist region controlled for over a quarter-century by the Armenians.
Information about 2,783 killed has appeared on the website of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense. It also stated that the identification of 103 victims was still ongoing. Over 100 soldiers could be missing. “They are being searched for,” it said. 1,245 military personnel are treating in hospitals. Armenia has not yet released the final number of casualties on its side, but on November 14, the health ministry reported 2,317 killed, Reuters reported.
Azerbaijan used new-generation combat means to fight on a vast scale, including circulating ammunition, which – according to many observers – determined the Azeri side’s success. The information about such high losses on the Azeri side is, therefore, a surprise. On the other hand, it should be remembered that before the breakdown of the Armenian defense in Karabakh, several weeks of position fights lasted, in which the Azeris could suffer significant losses, along with the destruction of Armenian equipment, e.g., using precision targeting systems.
The separatist Nagorno-Karabakh is an Armenian enclave located de jure in the territory of Azerbaijan. The Armenians have controlled this region and several adjacent areas since the war in the 1990s. In September, Azerbaijan attempted to regain control of the region and gained a significant advantage. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia signed a tripartite peace agreement on November 9-10.
It led to a ceasefire and brought Russian peacekeepers into the region to stay there for at least five years. Armenia has committed to handing over to Azerbaijan the occupied territories in Nagorno-Karabakh and three adjacent areas. The road connecting Armenia with the separatist region’s capital, Stepanakert, referred to as the Laczyński corridor, is protected by Russian troops.
The deal, which caused euphoria in Azerbaijan, gave rise to political conflict and protests in Armenia. The opposition and many of its supporters took to the streets, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan as a “traitor.” They considered the truce a capitulation.
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.
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.
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