Azerbaijan has began a counterterrorism operation to “restore constitutional construction” in Karabakh, almost three years after preventing a quick however brutal battle with Armenia over the mountainous area.
“The purpose is to make sure Armenian forces withdraw from sovereign Azerbaijani territory, large-scale provocations are suppressed and the provisions of the 2020 trilateral deal are fulfilled,” the nation’s Protection Ministry introduced Tuesday, which means the treaty that ended the Second Karabakh Battle.
Karabakh authorities reported rockets and artillery fireplace alongside the complete entrance line across the mountain enclave whereas Baku assured a humanitarian hall was established on the Lachin highway – the one land route connecting Armenia to Karabakh – and different instructions for the evacuation of Karabakh civilians.
“The separatist regime in Karabakh should be dissolved,” the Azerbaijani International Ministry mentioned in a separate assertion, stressing that the “solely manner” for peace within the area is “the whole withdrawal of Armenian forces.”
Karabakh is a longstanding supply of pressure between the South Caucasus neighbors, which fought two wars over the territory – first within the early Nineties and once more in 2020 when Azerbaijan liberated a number of cities, villages and settlements from unlawful Armenian occupation throughout 44 days of clashes. Fears of a recent battle have been constructing in latest months, with Armenia accusing Azerbaijan of a troop buildup and decrying a blockade of the Lachin hall. “Localized anti-terrorist measures have been launched within the area,” Azerbaijan’s Protection Ministry mentioned, accusing Armenian-backed forces of repeated shelling and incursions.
Baku mentioned it used precision weapons to focus on Armenian navy positions and amenities utilized by separatists. “We reiterate that the civilian inhabitants and infrastructure will not be targets,” the assertion mentioned. Azerbaijan justified the mission, citing “systematic” shelling by Armenian-backed forces, accusing them of conducting “reconnaissance actions” and fortifying defensive positions. “There’s additionally the strengthening of fight positions with personnel, armored autos, artillery and different weapons,” Azerbaijan mentioned, accusing separatists of “a excessive degree of fight readiness.”
Baku mentioned that regional energy brokers Russia and Türkiye had been knowledgeable about Azerbaijan’s navy actions in Karabakh.
It additionally mentioned Azerbaijani Protection Minister Zakir Hasanov knowledgeable his Turkish counterpart Yaşar Güler over the cellphone concerning the operation in Karabakh. “‘Türkiye stands with Azerbaijan because it at all times has,’ Güler assured Hasanov,” Baku famous.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian mentioned that his military was not concerned in preventing and the state of affairs on the border was “secure.” After a safety council assembly, Pashinian mentioned they might “handle the state of affairs regardless of how tough it’s” however wouldn’t interact in any navy operation.
Hikmet Hajiyev, senior adviser to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, tweeted that the “unlawful separatist puppet regime” in Karabakh should dissolve itself and Armenian armed forces stationed in Karabakh “should be disarmed.” He mentioned the rights and safety of individuals of Armenian descent in Karabakh could be offered beneath worldwide obligations.
Moscow, in the meantime, requested the events to the battle to respect a peace accord and finish the “bloodshed.” “We all know what must be achieved to resolve the state of affairs … to implement the whole lot we agreed on, to not provoke the state of affairs, to work in the direction of calming it down and resolving it,” International Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova advised reporters Tuesday.
The European Union referred to as on Azerbaijan to cease its navy operation in Karabakh. “Navy actions of Azerbaijan should be instantly halted to permit for a real dialogue between Baku and Karabakh Armenians,” European Council chief Charles Michel mentioned.
EU international coverage chief Josep Borrell mentioned the bloc “condemns the navy escalation” and “deplores the lack of lives.” “Violence must cease to supply a conducive atmosphere for peace and normalization talks,” Borrell mentioned. The EU has mediated talks with Azerbaijan and Armenia to safe lasting peace between the ex-Soviet foes. EU Particular Consultant for the South Caucasus Toivo Klaar mentioned in a tweet he lamented tragic stories of lack of Azerbaijani lives from mine explosions however added that ongoing navy motion would solely worsen the state of affairs. Klaar highlighted the pressing want for a direct cease-fire to permit “real dialogue between Baku and Karabakh Armenians as the one approach to obtain peaceable coexistence.”
Azerbaijan’s assertion got here simply hours after it mentioned 4 law enforcement officials and two civilians have been killed in mine blasts in Karabakh, with authorities blaming separatists.
The deaths at daybreak got here after Armenian separatists mentioned that they had agreed with Azerbaijani authorities to renew support deliveries to Karabakh.
Baku’s safety providers mentioned two civilians had died within the Khodzhaveskiy district and 4 law enforcement officials have been killed in one other mine explosion en path to the location.
Their car hit “a mine laid on a tunnel highway beneath building by unlawful Armenian armed teams,” a press release mentioned.
Azerbaijan mentioned the incident happened “within the zone of non permanent deployment of the Russian peacekeeping contingent,” despatched by Moscow in 2020 as a part of a cease-fire deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan mentioned the law enforcement officials have been killed on the highway to Azerbaijani-controlled Shusha, recaptured from separatists in 2020.
Within the six-week 2020 battle, Azerbaijan regained management of key areas of Karabakh, together with the culturally revered city of Shusha.
However different elements of the area, together with the central metropolis of Stepanakert (Khankendi), stay beneath the management of Armenian separatists.
Azerbaijan mentioned the highway to Shusha was constructed after it captured pockets of land from Armenia in 2020.
“Through the building of the highway, the realm alongside the route was cleared of mines,” Baku mentioned.
Karabakh is closely mined. During the last three a long time, lots of of Azerbaijanis have been wounded or killed by land mines laid by Armenian forces.
Azerbaijan mentioned Tuesday greater than 300 of its nationals have been wounded or killed by mines since 2020.
Azerbaijani and Armenian militaries used them throughout a bloody battle within the early Nineties.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has mentioned that land mines have been the primary impediment impeding the return of displaced folks to territories retaken from Armenian separatists in 2020.