Azerbaijan begins operation against Nagorno-Karabakh | Brasarr

Azerbaijan begins operation against Nagorno-Karabakh


Azerbaijan increased its military build-up around Nagorno-Karabakh in the run-up to Tuesday’s operation

Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry says it has begun “anti-terrorist” operations in areas of Nagorno-Karabakh under Armenian control.

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

Air raid sirens and mortar fire were heard in Karabakh’s main city.

Eleven Azerbaijani police and civilians have been reported killed in a mine explosion and another incident.

Defense officials in the breakaway region said the Azerbaijani military had “violated the ceasefire along the entire contact line with missile-artillery attacks”. Other Karabakh representatives spoke of a “large-scale 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 territories around Karabakh that had been held of Armenia since 1994.

Since December, Azerbaijan has mounted 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 had responded by launching “local anti-terrorist activities… to disarm and ensure the withdrawal of formations of the Armed Forces of Armenia from our territories”.

It insisted it did not target civilians or civilian facilities, saying instead that “only legitimate military targets are disabled by the use of high-precision weapons”.

Armenia’s Defense Ministry said claims of Armenian military fire did not match reality.

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

Officials in Armenia added that as of 14:00 (10:00 GMT) the situation at the country’s own borders was “relatively stable”.

Russia’s foreign ministry said it had been warned of the Azerbaijani offensive just minutes in advance and urged both countries to respect a ceasefire signed after the war in 2020. The EU’s regional special representative, Toivo Klaar, said there was ” urgent need for an immediate ceasefire”.

image source, Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan


Azerbaijani officials posted photos of what they said was the aftermath of a deadly landmine blast

The fragile ceasefire that brought the six-week war to an end in 2020 has come under increased pressure in recent months.

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

Azerbaijan had refused to build up troops in the region. On Monday, it allowed aid from the International Committee of the Red Cross into Karabakh on two routes, one via the Lachin corridor from Armenia and the other on Azerbaijan’s Aghdam road.

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

The Defense Ministry released photos of the wrecked vehicle, but ethnic Armenian officials in Karabakh said it was Azerbaijan’s military that had violated the ceasefire.

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