Azerbaijan launches military operation in Karabakh

Azerbaijan has launched “anti-terrorist activities” on a local scale in Nagorno-Karabakh in order to restore constitutional order. This was reported by the country’s Defense Ministry.

“With the use of high-precision weapons, positions on the front line and buried, long-term firing points of Armenian Armed Forces formations, as well as combat means and military facilities are being put out of action”, the military ministry said.

Baku says the operation aims to enforce the provisions of the trilateral statement signed with Armenia and Russia and to stop “large-scale provocations”. “The continued presence of Armenian armed forces formations in the Karabakh economic region of Azerbaijan in violation of the provisions of the trilateral statement signed on November 10, 2020 is a source of a serious threat to peace and stability in the region”, the statement says. Baku claims strengthening of Armenian military positions, shelling and road mines.

The country’s Foreign Ministry says the only way to peace in the region is “unconditional and complete withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and dissolution of the separatist regime”. The Armenian Defense Ministry reports that there is no Armenian army in Karabakh.

In the morning of September 19, the press service of the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry stated that a truck was blown up by an anti-tank mine in the Khojavand district of the country. Two people were killed – the driver and a passenger. The State Security Service of Azerbaijan claims that the mine was laid by “a sabotage group of illegal Armenian armed formations”.

“On September 19 at 13:00, the Azerbaijani armed forces violated the ceasefire along the entire length of the line of contact, launching rocket and artillery strikes”, the press service of the Defense Ministry of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) said.

“The War. The children are at school. There’s been shelling for half an hour. There is no communication. There are no cars to pick up children from schools”, quoted NKR MP Metakse Hakobyan as saying.

In Stepanakert, the Azerbaijani military attacked a radio-electronic warfare unit, Factor news agency reported. An air alert has been announced in the city. The shelling was also reported by Ruben Vardanyan, former head of the Nagorno-Karabakh government and ex-head of the Troika Dialog company Ruben Vardanyan. “Armenia’s leadership should recognize Artsakh and join the protection of its citizens!” – he said in his Telegram channel.

“A full-fledged large-scale operation is underway. They don’t enter the city, but a large-scale operation. The residents are mostly in bomb shelters”, Vardanyan told Kommersant.

Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry informed the command of Russian peacekeepers and the leadership of the monitoring center about its actions. Armenia’s Defense Ministry described the situation on the country’s borders as “relatively stable” as of 13:00 Moscow time.

Russia is in contact with the Azerbaijani side over the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. “I think that in the near future a corresponding statement will be made by the Foreign Ministry on the results of the contacts”, she promised.

“Peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan can be achieved by implementing the roadmaps agreed upon and on paper”, Zakharova added.

Yerevan is ready to recognize Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in May. In return, he demanded to ensure the rights and security of Armenians living in the region. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev also spoke about Baku’s readiness to discuss such conditions: “We hope that peace talks will eventually bring long-term peace to the Caucasus”.

Assistant to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev Hikmet Hajiyev said on September 16 that the authorities expect to conclude peace with Armenia by the end of the year. The day before, on September 18, the International Committee of the Red Cross delivered humanitarian aid from Armenia and Azerbaijan to the region.

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