Azerbaijan launches operation against Nagorno-Karabakh | Albiseyler

Azerbaijan launches operation against Nagorno-Karabakh

image caption,

Ahead of Tuesday’s operation, Azerbaijan increased the number of its military units around Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense announced that it had launched “anti-terrorist” operations in the Armenian-controlled areas of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Tensions over the breakaway ethnic-Armenian enclave, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, have been high for months.

Air raid sirens and mortar fire could be heard in the main city of Karabakh.

Eleven Azerbaijani policemen and civilians were killed in the mine explosion and another incident.

Defense officials in the breakaway region said the Azerbaijani army “violated the ceasefire along the entire line of contact with rocket artillery strikes.” Other Karabakh officials spoke of a “major military offensive.”

The two neighbors, Azerbaijan and Armenia, have gone to war twice over Nagorno-Karabakh, first in the early 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union and again in 2020. Three years ago, Azerbaijan recaptured the territory surrounding Karabakh that was held by Armenia. since 1994.

Since December, Azerbaijan has launched an effective blockade of the only route into the enclave from Armenia, known as the Lachin Corridor.

On Tuesday, the Defense Ministry in Baku accused Armenian forces of “systematic shelling” of its army positions and said it responded by launching “local, counter-terrorist activities… aimed at disarming and ensuring the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces formations from our territory.”

It insisted it was not targeting civilians or civilian facilities, but instead said “only legitimate military targets are disabled by the use of high-precision weapons.”

Armenia’s Defense Ministry said claims of Armenian military fire were untrue.

The sound of artillery and gunfire could be heard from the Karabakh regional capital of Khankendi, known in Armenia as Stepanakert, on Tuesday. An estimated 120,000 ethnic Armenians live in the mountain enclave.

Officials in Armenia added that the situation on its own border was “relatively stable” as of 2:00 p.m. (10:00 GMT).

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it had been warned of the Azerbaijani offensive only minutes before and called on both countries to respect the ceasefire signed after the war in 2020. The EU’s regional special representative Toivo Klaar said there was an “urgent need for an immediate ceasefire”. .

image source, Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense

image caption,

Azerbaijani officials release images of what they say was the aftermath of a deadly landmine explosion

The fragile truce that ended the six-week war in 2020 has come under increased pressure in recent months.

Some 3,000 Russian peacekeepers have been deployed to monitor the ceasefire, but Moscow’s attention has been diverted by its all-out invasion of Ukraine. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan recently stated that Russia is “spontaneously leaving the region.”

Azerbaijan has denied a troop build-up in the region. On Monday, it allowed aid from the International Committee of the Red Cross to Karabakh on two roads, one through the Lachin Corridor from Armenia and the other on the Azerbaijan road to Aghdam.

There were hopes that tensions might ease, but then Azerbaijani officials said six people were killed, including four policemen, when their vehicle drove over a land mine in the Khojavand region, which was retaken during the 2020 war.

The Ministry of Defense released images of the destroyed vehicle, but representatives of ethnic Armenians in Karabakh said it was the Azerbaijani army that violated the ceasefire.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *