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UPDATE: Azerbaijan claims further border provocations by Armenia

UPDATED: A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan has claimed that on September 12, 2022, starting at late night, units of the armed forces of Armenia held large-scale provocations in the directions of Dashkasan, Kalbajar and Lachin of the Azerbaijan-Armenia state border.

Escalation took place between armed forces of Azerbaijan and Armenia on 13 September, 2022

According to the information provided by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan, sabotage groups of the armed forces of Armenia using the mountainous relief of the area and existing valley gaps carried out planting landmines in the areas between the positions of the units of Azerbaijan’s army and the supply roads in different directions.

In addition, Armenian armed forces fired intensively at the positions of the Azerbaijani Army in the Dashkasan, Kalbajar and Lachin regions with different types of weapons, including mortars. As a result, there were casualties among the Azerbaijani armed forces and damage inflicted on military infrastructure.

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The statement says:

“In order to prevent further provocations by the armed forces of Armenia and military threats against the territory and sovereignty of our country, to ensure the safety of our military personnel, including civilian workers involved in infrastructure activities in the territory of Kalbajar and Lachin regions, the expansion of the scale of the military hostilities was averted, and in order to silence the firing points of the armed forces of Armenia definitive retaliatory measures were taken by the units of the Azerbaijani Army deployed in this direction. Moreover, the information disseminated by the Armenian side that Azerbaijan’s Army allegedly targets the civilian population, facilities, and infrastructure does not reflect reality and is another disinformation spread by the Armenian side.
 
In general, during the last month, the provocations of the Armenian armed forces in the direction of Lachin, Gadabay, Dashkasan and Kalbajar regions of the state border, and cases of the firing of the positions of the Azerbaijani Army in those regions with various types of weapons, were intensive and systematic. At the same time, Armenia’s increase in militarization along Azerbaijan’s borders, and deployment of heavy equipment and large-calibre weapons in the region indicated that Armenia was preparing for a large-scale military provocation.
 
At the same time, delaying the normalization process by Armenia with various pretexts, showing a destructive position in the negotiations conducted with international efforts, and not withdrawing the Armenian armed forces from the territory of Azerbaijan contrary to the obligations within the framework of trilateral statements and agreements, continuing planting landmines, including recently produced in Armenia in the territory of Lachin, putting forward new conditions and disrupting the process of opening of communications and transport routes, as well as not responding to the peace agenda demonstrated that Armenia is not interested in the peace process and aims to undermine them.
 
The following aggression of the Armenian side against Azerbaijan is a gross violation of the fundamental norms and principles of international law, as well as the provisions of the trilateral statements signed between the leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Russian Federation, and the agreements reached between Azerbaijan and Armenia. These steps of Armenia are completely contrary to the ongoing normalization and peace process. At the time, when Azerbaijan is carrying out large-scale restoration and construction works in these territories liberated from occupation, Armenia by allowing aggression once again demonstrates that it is hindering this process by all means.
 
Responsibility for the provocation, clashes and losses lies with the military-political leadership of Armenia. Any actions against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Azerbaijan will be resolutely prevented.”

UPDATE

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Escalation took place between armed forces of Azerbaijan and Armenia on 13 September, 2022

Description of the event

  • On the night of September 12th to September 13th of 2022, the armed forces of Armenia resorted to large-scale military provocation in the direction of the Kalbajar, Lachin and Dashkasan regions of the undelimited Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
  • The sabotage groups of the armed forces of Armenia taking advantage of the difficult mountainous terrain of the area and adverse weather conditions attempted to plant landmines in the areas between the positions of units of Azerbaijan Army and on the supply roads in the afore-mentioned directions.
  • The positions, shelters and strongholds of the Azerbaijan Army were subjected to intensive shelling by the Armenian armed formations from various types of weapons, including mortars and artillery, as a result of which there were casualties among the personnel of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces and damage was inflicted to the military infrastructure.
  • The Armed Forces of Azerbaijan took urgent adequate measures to immediately suppress such provocations to ensure safety of the military, as well as civilian personnel engaged in rehabilitation and reconstruction works in areas of close vicinity.
  • Not a single civilian object was attacked by Azerbaijan. As it was confirmed by the Armenian side, there are no victims or wounded among the civilian population. Azerbaijani military targeted only military objects in close vicinity of the undelimited border line with high accuracy with the aim of suppressing Armenia’s capability to attack on Azerbaijan. These measures were of limited in terms of geographical scope and military equipment used;
  • Since 9:00 am on September 13rd of 2022, taking into account the requests of foreign partners, an agreement was reached on a ceasefire. The Azerbaijani side expects that Armenia will fulfill its obligations reached and will not escalate the situation by committing new provocations.

Provocation is part of Armenia’s continuous destructive activities:

  • The large-scale military provocation that took place on the undelimited state border is not an isolated case, but constitutes an element of the chain of military and political provocations committed by Armenia over recent days;
  • Thus, in recent days, including after the high-level meeting held in Brussels on August 31, ceasefire have been frequently violated by Armenia in the direction of Kalbajar and Lachin regions of the undelimited state border. As a result, units of the Azerbaijani military outposts, as well as civilian equipment operating in the area were exposed to fire;
  • Contrary to the provision of the Joint Statement November 10, 2020 on the cessation of all military activities between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well breaching all other relevant international obligations, Armenia, planted anti-personnel mines in the territories of Azerbaijan at massive scale;
  • As a result of the demining activity conducted since August 15, more than 1300 anti-personnel mines were discovered in the territory of Lachin district, alone. It was determined that these mines were produced in Armenia in 2021 and were planted in the territory of Azerbaijan after the signing of the Trilateral Statement;
  • In general, the Armenian side has not fully handed over the mine maps to Azerbaijan while continuing to plant new mines. After the November 10 Joint Statement, 240 Azerbaijani civilians and military suffered from mine explosions, out of which134 took place in areas on which were not covered by minefield records shared by Armenia;
  • Contrary to the Joint Statement, Armenia has not withdrawn its armed forces from the territories of Azerbaijan. Armenia tries to delay this process with various excuses;
  • In an interview to the Armenian Public TV on July 19, the Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia, publicly confessed that the armed forces of Armenia continues to be deployed in the territory of Azerbaijan. Thus, the gross violation of the Trilateral Statement and general international law was once again publicly acknowledged by the Armenian official;
  • Although Armenia stated that its conscripts would be withdrawn from the territory of Azerbaijan by September 2022, this has not yet happened;
  • The Armenian side demonstratively deviates from the agreements reached on the normalization of relations between the two states, refuses to implement the previously reached agreements. This trend has become even more acute over last weeks;
  • At the meeting of the tripartite working group on the opening of transport communications held in Moscow on August 30, Armenia denied the agreements reached previously, and introduced new elements for discussion after one year and eight month of intense negotiations;
  • The proposals of the Azerbaijani side to start concrete negotiations on the peace treaty were not reciprocated. Immediately after the Brussels meeting of 31 August, Azerbaijan proposed to hold a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries at the end of September. This has also been left unanswered by Armenia;
  • On the contrary, three days after the Brussels meeting, the Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia made an illegal visit to the territories of Azerbaijan and demonstratively resorted to political provocation;
  • On September 2 – immediately after the Brussels meeting, where an agreement was reached regarding the launch of negotiations on the normalization of relations between the two countries based on mutual recognition and respect for each other’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and state borders, the Prime Minister of Armenia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of this country issued provocative statements on the occasion of the the anniversary of the announcement of the illegal entity on the territory of Azerbaijan. By doing so, Armenia demonstrated that its territorial claims against Azerbaijan still continue;
  • Armenia demonstrated a similar position at the bilateral meeting held in Tbilisi on July 16, as well. During the meeting, Armenia did not reciprocate the proposal of Azerbaijan to establish working groups by each side for negotiations on the peace treaty. The Armenian side even refused to issue a short common press release on the outcome of the meeting;

Military provocation does not serve to Azerbaijan’s interest, but Armenia

  • Azerbaijan is not interested in military escalation in the region.
  • Azerbaijan currently implements large-scale investment projects (allocated 3 billion) in areas close to the latest military escalation zone, conducts wide-range post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation works. Military confrontations are immediate danger to these projects.
  • First group of IDPs were returned to Aghali, Zangilan district which is close to the latest military tension zone. Construction of Zangilan international airport in the area close to the undelimited state border with Armenia is about to be finalized. Azerbaijan plans to inaugurate it in coming days.
  • Few days ago, the Azerbaijani side demonstrated another good will gesture and released five more citizens of Armenia detained in Azerbaijan. This process took place directly between Azerbaijan and Armenia without mediation of any third party as an indicator of good will with a view to contribute to the peace process.
  • Consistent steps are also taken by the relevant Azerbaijani authorities to interact with the local residents of the conflict-affected Azerbaijani territories of Armenian origin, and recently serious positive dynamic achieved in this direction. Examples of that includes, the construction of a new road bypassing the Lachin city, joint use of small hydroelectric power stations in Lachin, management and use of the Sarsang reservoir etc.
  • In all these processes Armenia acts in a destructive manner and attempts to hamper  the development of contacts and dialogue between Azerbaijan and the local residents of Armenian origin.
  • In parallel to this, heavily militarization intentions of Armenia is clearly observed. 
  • Azerbaijan suffered a lot from Armenia’s military aggression and wars during past thirty years. During the first war more than twenty thousand Azerbaijanis were killed, more than one million people became IDPs and refugees. In the second war about three thousand Azerbaijanis were martyred. Moreover, Azerbaijan’s cities and villages have been destroyed. 
  • Armenia, by resorting to large-scale military provocations on the undelimited state border, aims to involve third parties and expand geography of the tension. Armenia intends to take advantage of the current tension in international relations, political and military crisis in different regions with a view to getting a pretext to escape from peace talks.

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