Azerbaijan launches ‘anti-terrorist’ operation in Nagorno-Karabakh

Sep 19, 2023 | blog

Azerbaijan’s defence ministry stated it had begun “local anti-terrorist activities” within the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh to drive out what it claimed had been Armenian troops and “restore constitutional order”.

The navy strikes on Tuesday appeared to mark a return to open hostilities over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is internationally recognised as a part of Azerbaijan however has been underneath efficient Armenian management since a separatist warfare that broke out in 1988 amid the collapse of the Soviet Union earlier than a 1994 ceasefire.

Armenia’s international ministry stated Azerbaijan had begun a “large-scale military offensive against the Republic of Artsakh,” the Armenian title for the area. “At this moment the capital Stepanakert and other cities and villages are under intensive fire,” the ministry stated.

European Council president Charles Michel referred to as the assault “devastating news.”

Michel stated: “Military actions of Azerbaijan must be immediately halted to allow for a genuine dialogue between Baku and Karabakh Armenians.”

On movies proven on social media, sirens may very well be heard in Stepanakert as explosions within the close by mountains despatched plumes of smoke into the air.

The preventing marked the largest flare-up within the decades-long battle because the 2020 warfare by which Azerbaijan, with help from Turkey, regained management of among the enclave, in addition to a number of surrounding territories.

Since final December it has blockaded the one highway linking the area with Armenia, resulting in shortages of meals, medical provides, in addition to frequent energy cuts.

In an indication that Azerbaijan is looking for to regain full management over the enclave, which is populated by ethnic Armenians, Baku’s international ministry stated on Tuesday that “the only way to achieve peace and stability in the region” was for Armenia’s troops to withdraw and Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian authorities to be dissolved.

Justifying Tuesday’s navy strikes, Azerbaijan cited landmine explosions that killed 4 troops and two civilians within the space a day earlier, claiming that Armenia’s armed forces had been creating “a serious threat to regional peace and stability”. Armenia’s defence ministry denies it has any troops within the area.

Toivo Klaar, the EU’s particular consultant for the South Caucasus, stated experiences of the deaths from the mine explosions had been “tragic” however warned “ongoing military action will only worsen the situation”.

Klaar wrote on X, previously Twitter, of an “urgent need for immediate ceasefire to allow genuine dialogue between Baku and Karabakh Armenians as only way to achieve peaceful coexistence.”

Armenia stated Azerbaijan’s accusations had been a pretext “to complete its policy of ethnic cleansing” and referred to as on Russia “to take clear and unequivocal steps to end Azerbaijan’s aggression.”

A Russian peacekeeping contingent within the area has largely stood by regardless of Moscow’s pledge to guard “the connection between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia” in an settlement it brokered to finish the 2020 warfare.

The stand-off has highlighted how Russia, the area’s conventional energy dealer, is dropping affect in its “near abroad” after President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine final yr.

Russia is “concerned” in regards to the escalation and is working to convey the battle again on the diplomatic observe, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov informed reporters on Tuesday.

Russia is involved with each events “at various levels” and there’s a chance of “the highest-level contacts”, he stated.

Russia’s international ministry stated its peacekeepers solely obtained advance warning of the assault from Azerbaijan a couple of minutes earlier than it began.

Later on Tuesday, Hikmet Hajiyev, a senior presidential aide, stated Azerbaijan had already hit its foremost targets and the operations would proceed in a “more limited format,” in accordance with Russian state newswire Tass.

Nagorno-Karabakh’s separatist defence ministry then stated “the intensity of fire along the line of contact has been significantly reduced”. 

Armenia, a majority Christian nation that had historically seemed to Russia as its protector, has sought western help to dealer the stand-off with oil-rich, principally Muslim Azerbaijan and expressed frustration on the lack of backing from Moscow.

The EU has tried to step into the vacuum created by Moscow by way of a number of rounds of talks with Armenia and Azerbaijan, most just lately in July.

Nikol Pashinyan, Armenia’s prime minister, has floated quitting the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russian-led navy alliance, cancelled CSTO drills set to be held within the nation, and as an alternative started joint workouts with US troops final week.

Russia summoned Armenia’s ambassador for a “difficult” dialog this month after Yerevan despatched humanitarian assist to Ukraine for the primary time and Pashinyan’s spouse, Anna Hakobyan, visited Kyiv.

Russia’s international ministry stated Armenia’s “recent actions are creating favourable grounds for the west’s hostile policy towards Russia” however added Moscow was dedicated to working with Yerevan.

Additional reporting by Anastasia Stognei

MoneyMaker FX EA Trading Robot

powered by