In Nagorno-Karabakh for the first time since 1994, resumed full-scale battles with the use of aircraft, artillery and tanks. While Baku and Yerevan accused each other of provoking conflict. According to experts, this can mean the beginning of a new war, and Azerbaijan this time can accompany the Turkey, not huddled together in recent times on promises to help to return Karabakh.
On Saturday from Nagorno-Karabakh started to emerge, which allow to judge about “seasonal exacerbation” (which have been many in recent years), and the resumption of frozen more than 20 years ago Karabakh conflict.
“The conflict will be to burn all the hot spots in the southern borders of Russia”
In the night of Saturday, the defense Ministry of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic informed that the NKR army conducts defensive battles. The Ministry said that the Azerbaijanis with the support of aviation and artillery advancing on several stretches of the line of contact.
In turn, the Azerbaijani defense Ministry reported intense shelling from the Armenian side settlements near the contact line. “Night of 2 April, the Azerbaijani positions were fired with mortars and heavy machine guns. Shelling along the front line settlements. The Azerbaijani side took retaliatory measures”, – said the press-Secretary of the Ministry of defence Vagif Dargahi. According to him, the Azerbaijani army “carry out a response along the line of contact”, in Agdam, Tartar, Khojavend and Fizuli directions.
In the Internet appeared the video of Azerbaijani diversion of military equipment to the combat zone.
By noon, it was reported the first casualties. “According to information received from the NKR defense Ministry information, on the outskirts of the locality levonarch special forces unit of the NKR defense Army identified and destroyed diversionno-prospecting group of the opponent”, – told RIA “news” in the Ministry of defense of Armenia. Press Secretary of the Armenian defense Ministry Artsrun Hovhannisyan said that on the frontline, East of the mountain Mrav shot down the helicopter Mi-24/35 air force of Azerbaijan. The Armenian side claims that a second helicopter by the Azerbaijani air force was shot down at about 11.30 Moscow time, on the South-East air defense system in Nagorno Karabakh.
Later, the press service of the defense Ministry of Nagorno Karabakh said the destruction of the Azeri tank in the South-East of the contact line. One tank and two drones destroyed in the North-Eastern direction, reported in the defense Ministry of the unrecognized Republic. The NKR defense Ministry published a picture of one of the downed drones.
Baku has consistently refuted the claims coming from Yerevan and Stepanakert. “Information about the alleged shooting down of a military helicopter by Azerbaijan is an absolute lie. It is the next provocation of the Armenian side”, – said the portal Day.in az the Azerbaijani defense Ministry. The representative office said: “as a result of offensive actions of our troops were put out of action a significant amount of military equipment and units of infrastructure. The enemy also suffered considerable losses in manpower”. The defense Ministry said that the target coordinates on the frontlines and behind enemy lines were defined in advance.
In turn, “the Armenian armed forces over the past day violated the ceasefire regime in various directions of the contact line between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops 127 time” – said Monday the defense Ministry of Azerbaijan, reports RIA “Novosti”. It is alleged that during the fighting, the Armenian forces had used mortars and heavy machine guns.
Note that if Yerevan is a Discerner of the military forces of Armenia and the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh, Baku believes that all divisions of the Armenian party in the Armenian armed forces, since it did not recognize the NKR.
The Azerbaijani Ministry of defense announces the return of control over several settlements and strategic heights in Nagorno-Karabakh. The NKR defense Ministry, in turn, argues that the Karabakh army controls the territory of the Republic.
“A serious but stable condition”
Victims ‘unfrozen’ of the conflict in the first place were civilians. Earlier it was reported that the shelling from the Azerbaijani side from guns MM-21 (“Grad”) in the direction of Martuni in Karabakh was killed 12-year-old child, two teenagers 15 and 16 years were injured.
“The condition of the two children affected by the shelling from the guns of the “Castle” of heavy, but their lives are not in danger. Children are in intensive care, their condition is serious but stable,” – said in the medical center of Stepanakert. Six civilians were admitted to medical center with gunshot and shrapnel wounds, said the press service of the NKR Ministry of health.
The source in the NKR Ministry of defense informed “Interfax” that, according to the preliminary operative data, killed from 40 to 50 Azerbaijani servicemen. However, he clarified that this information is not confirmed yet.
In turn, the Archbishop of Artsakh (Karabakh) diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Pargev Martirosyan stated that as a result of shelling from the Azerbaijani territory killed at least three soldiers of the NKR army and 15 were wounded.
“I came down to the confrontation”
Russia took control of the situation in the zone of the oldest conflict in postovetskom space. President Vladimir Putin is deeply concerned by reports of renewed fighting, and calls on the parties to the conflict for an immediate ceasefire and exercise restraint in order to avoid further casualties, said the press Secretary of the head of state, Dmitry Peskov.
According to him, the Russian leader “regrets due to the fact that the situation is again slid into armed confrontation”. “In recent years, through both the efforts of the tripartite (Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) and international efforts (of the OSCE Minsk group on Nagorno-Karabakh, representing Russia, France and USA) undertook a number of vigorous efforts, is able eventually to reach a settlement of the conflict,” said Peskov.
The representative of the Russian foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said that Russia has begun consultations with partners – the OSCE Minsk group (which since 1992 negotiations on the conflict settlement).
Not on an empty place
The situation threatens a return to the “hot war” 1992-1994. As previously noted columnist of the newspaper VIEW Evgeny Krutikov, despite the sharp decline of Azerbaijan’s military budget is almost 40%, the risk of a new war did not decrease.
And to this escalation official reports weekly reported the losses on the contact line. In January alone, the Azerbaijani army has introduced three new parts in the front area. Both sides regularly underestimate their losses and overestimate others, but in General, the situation on the Karabakh front is dangerous. For example, for new year’s week, the Azerbaijani propagandists counted 15 dead Armenian soldiers and two Azerbaijani. And the “Armenian drone” was shot down about a squadron.
As stated by the newspaper VIEW, the Russian Ambassador to Armenia in 1992-1994, doctor of historical Sciences Vladimir Stupishin, Baku has never left hopes to return Karabakh, “what has been repeatedly announced by Heydar Aliyev and his son Ilham”. However, according to him, the soldiers of the army of the self-proclaimed NKR there is a very strong motivation “to protect their own families, wives and children, their own homeland.”
In his opinion, the reason for the escalation was the policy of Turkey, which Azerbaijan considers its closest ally. We will remind that in November, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Ankara would do everything possible to ensure that the occupied territories were liberated.
About the Turkish trace and say in Stepanakert. “The statements of the Turkish side during the visit of Aliyev to Turkey, which were pan-Turkic in nature, statements about the liberation of Karabakh, about the brotherhood, and that present actions – all these are evidence that Turkey is an interested party, – said to “Interfax” the press Secretary of NKR President David Babayan. – We do not exclude that Turkey could encourage Azerbaijan to go on such an adventure. Azerbaijan would not have gone on like that, knowing full well that it will lead to its international isolation”.
In turn, the head of the press service of Azerbaijani foreign Ministry Hikmet Hajiyev said that “all responsibility for the situation falls squarely on Armenia as a country – aggressor and occupant”. The interlocutor of the Agency said that the escalating tension coincides “with the anniversary of the occupation of Kelbajar region of Azerbaijan on 2 April 1993”.
Conflict can stir up the entire region
The aggravation of the situation could escalate into a protracted conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the former Deputy chief of the General staff, Colonel-General retired Valery Manilov, according to which, “if there is no goodwill involved in the conflict, it can increase their scope and to stir up the whole region”.
“It’s important to understand who intensified the conflict, – said Colonel-General Manilov in comments to “Interfax-AVN”. The expert said: “Russia is not indifferent to what is happening on its borders. She can’t be a bystander to take a stand – let it be. But in this situation, in my opinion, Russia should keep a low profile, and very active on the parties to the conflict a diplomatic offensive.”
Manilow recalled that in the Armenian city of Gyumri is a Russian military base. “As for the Collective rapid response forces of the collective security Treaty organization (the Organization of collective security Treaty), this is a slow mechanism. If the situation is regarded as an act of aggression, then the mechanism of the CSTO is enabled. While all can be resolved on a bilateral basis,” – said the military expert.
The belt of instability
“What is happening in Nagorno-Karabakh should be considered as part of the overall U.S. strategy to create a zone of instability around Russia’s southern border,” – said in comments the newspaper VIEW first Vice-President of Academy of geopolitical problems, doctor of military Sciences Konstantin Sivkov. According to him, because attempts to secure a foothold in Ukraine, and to gain a foothold in Syria did not succeed, “field of maneuver is reduced, and the Americans were forced to play by our rules in Syria.”
“Last week, for example, was inspired by an incident on the border of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (the border guards of the two countries managed to prevent the escalation of the conflict between the residents of border villages – approx. OPINION), resumed conflict in Nagorno Karabakh”, – said Sivkov. In his view, the purpose of this escalation – to provoke circuit conflicts to “destroy Russia”. The interviewee said that the establishment of the belt of smoldering local wars, coupled with the provocation of internal political tension, confined to the autumn Duma elections, meant to destabilize the situation in Russia.Related posts: