still image from a video released by the Armenian Defense Ministry shows what
is said to be Azerbaijani tanks and service members during at attack in
Nagorno-Karabakh, on September 27, 2020. (Via Reuters)
VIDEO: War Between Azerbaijan & Armenia
fighting continues in the South Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a day
after a decades-long territorial dispute re-erupted with the heaviest clashes
in years between Azerbaijan’s military and Armenian-backed forces.
was reported throughout the night into early Monday morning, with both sides
deploying heavy artillery.
latest flare-up of violence has resulted in scores of fatalities and hundreds
of injuries on both sides.
foreign minister said on Monday that six Azeri civilians had lost their lives
in the latest bout of fighting.
Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s Office reported that “as many as 26
civilians have been hospitalized with various bodily injuries.”
Armenian defense ministry spokesperson said 15 more separatist forces in the
Nagorno-Karabakh region had been killed overnight, bringing their total
fatality count to 32 since clashes erupted Sunday.
speaking on Monday, Armenian Ambassador to Russia Vardan Toganyan confirmed
that around 30 Armenian servicemen had been killed and 100 others injured in
Armenian Defense Ministry representative, meanwhile, put the number of wounded
Armenians at 200.
sides have accused each other of sustained artillery shelling.
Ministry of Defense said the Armenian-backed forces had shelled the city of
Terter overnight, adding Azeri forces had attacked in retaliation, destroying
at least two Armenian tanks.
also said Azerbaijan had kept targeting the region with artillery fire.
reported on Monday that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev had signed a decree
authorizing partial mobilization of reserve servicemen.
and Nagorno-Karabakh declared martial law and general mobilization on Sunday.
Oil Pipe Lines
fresh escalation has concerned the international community and prompted calls
for calm in the region.
European Union asked all sides in the Karabakh conflict to prevent another war
and avoid foreign interference.
Spokesman Peter Stano said Monday, “We urge everyone to do everything they
can in order to prevent an all-out war from breaking out,” because the
escalation could endanger regional stability.
the German government called for an immediate end to combat.
government sees the escalation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict as a very
dangerous development. We call on both sides to immediately cease fire and
resume negotiations. There is a special platform for this purpose, the OSCE
Minsk group,” cabinet spokesman Steffen Seibert said.
Monday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry called on all sides to show restraint.
Foreign Ministry also called for restraint on Monday, saying that Beijing hoped
Yerevan and Baku could resolve their differences through dialog. Ministry
spokesman Wang Wenbin said that maintaining regional peace and stability was in
the interests of all parties.
and Russia were quick to react to the violence on Sunday, calling on both sides
to cease fire and start negotiations.
an Azerbaijan ally, accused Armenia of the flare-up and promised Azerbaijan its
VIDEO:(Turkish Backed Syrian Militants to Participate in Azerbaijani Armenian Conflict)
on the other hand, which maintains close ties with Armenia, called for “an end
President Vladimir Putin expressed serious concern over the resumption of
large-scale clashes and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he was holding
talks with his Turkish counterpart to encourage a return to negotiations.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the meantime, spoke to his Azeri counterpart
called Armenia “the biggest threat to peace in the region” and urged “the
entire world to stand with Azerbaijan in their battle against invasion and
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan hit back, accusing Ankara of “dangerous
behavior” and pleading for the international community to prevent Ankara’s
involvement in the conflict.
was also one of the first countries to react to regional conflict, inviting the
two sides to immediately end the fighting. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeid
Khatibzadeh said Tehran was fully prepared to mediate the resumption of talks
between the conflicting sides.
is closely monitoring the conflict with concern and calls for an immediate end
to the escalation and the start of talks between the two countries,”
President Emmanuel Macron also talked with his Azerbaijani counterpart over the
phone during which he stressed the importance of resolving the conflict through
President Donald Trump also reacted to the fighting, saying that his
administration would seek to stop the violence through its “good relationships”
in the region.
State Department also condemned the violence in a statement, calling on both
Baku and Yerevan to halt the violence, as well as any rhetoric or other actions
that could worsen tensions.
statement said any participation in the escalating violence by outside parties
would be “deeply unhelpful.”
concern over the escalation, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also urged
both Baku and Yerevan to stop fighting and return to talks.
Francis, the European Union (EU) and the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe and called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to stop military
actions and return to the negotiating table.
separatists seized Karabakh in a move supported by Yerevan after the collapse
of the Soviet Union in 1992.
30,000 people were killed in the conflict that ensued, which ended with a
fragile ceasefire in 1994, with about 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory
remaining under the control of Armenian forces.
latest clashes follow a flare-up along the two counties’ border in July, which
claimed the lives of 17 soldiers from both sides. In April 2016, some 110
people were killed in the most serious fighting in years.
Azerbaijan has promised to take back the area, by the use of force if
necessary, Armenia says it will do all it can to defend the territory.
Armenia claims Azerbaijani artillery attacks are intensifying
artillery firing on Nagorno-Karabakh, in still image from video released by
Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry, September 28, 2020. © Handout via REUTERS
between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces over the disputed region of
Nagorno-Karabakh intensified, on Monday, with heavy civilian and military
casualties reported amid disputed claims of an Azeri warplane being shot down.
troops and forces from Nagorno-Karabakh have been trading artillery and rocket
fire, with the population of much of Karabakh told to seek shelter. Meanwhile,
Armenia has declared a general mobilization and barred men between the ages of
18 and 55 from leaving the country, except with the approval of military
most intense attacks took place in the Aras river valley, near the border with
Iran, and the Matagis-Talish front in the northeast of the region, according to
Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan. He claimed that the
Azeri side has lost 22 tanks and a dozen other vehicles, along with 370 dead
and many wounded.
Sargsyan, deputy commander of the Nagorno-Karabakh military, said their own
losses so far have amounted to 84 dead and more than 200 wounded. Both figures
should be understood in the context of an ongoing information war run by the
Pogosyan, spokesman for the president of the self-declared Artsakh Republic –
the ethnic Armenian de-facto government in the capital Stepanakert – said their
forces shot down an Azeri An-2 airplane outside the town of Martuni on Monday.
This is in addition to some three dozen drones, including ones provided by
Turkey, that the Armenian forces claim to
have shot down over the past 48 hours.
has denied the reports, saying only that two civilians were killed on Monday,
in addition to five on Sunday, and 30 were injured. There was no official
information on military casualties. Reports concerning the downed airplane were
rejected as “not corresponding to reality.”
forces have taken several strategically important locations near the village of
Talish in Nagorno-Karabakh, Colonel Anar Eyvazov, spokesman for the Defense
Ministry in Baku, said in a statement. He was also quoted by the Interfax news
agency as saying that Lernik Vardanyan, an Armenian airborne commander, was
killed near Talish. Armenia has denied this and labelled it “disinformation.”
a video conference on Monday, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev told UN General
Secretary Antonio Guterres that the question of Nagorno-Karabakh should be
resolved in line with UN Security Council resolutions guaranteeing the
territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and called for the urgent withdrawal of Armenian
troops from “occupied territories.”
current Azeri offensive is backed by Turkey, whose President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan has called Armenia “the biggest threat” to peace in the region and
called for it to end the “occupation” of Azeri land.
developments have given all influential regional countries an opportunity to
put in place realistic and fair solutions,” he said in Istanbul on Monday.
reports that Turkish-backed militants from northern Syria have been transported
to Azerbaijan to fight the Armenians have been denied by Baku as “complete
nonsense.” They amount to “another provocation from the Armenian side,” Khikmet
Gadzhiev, an aide to President Aliyev, told Al Jazeera.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan vowed his people “won’t retreat a
single millimeter from defending our people and our Artsakh.” All Armenians
“must unite to defend our history, our homeland, identity, our future and our
present,” Pashinyan tweeted on Sunday from Yerevan.
is one of several border disputes left over from the collapse of the Soviet
Union. An enclave predominantly populated by Armenians, it seceded from
Azerbaijan in 1988 and declared itself the Republic of Artsakh following a
bitter war in 1992-94.
Azerbaijan Armenia conflict a new threat to Russia’s delicate balancing
act with Turkey
PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan
arrive for a news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia March 5,
2020. © Pool via REUTERS/Pavel Golovkin
Paul Robinson, a professor at the University of Ottawa. He writes about Russian
and Soviet history, military history, and military ethics.
has never forgotten its 1990s humiliation at the hands of Armenia. Now stronger
than its sworn enemy, and emboldened by Turkish support, Baku’s assertiveness
is creating a headache for Moscow.
president Vladimir Putin once complained that communist leader Vladimir Lenin
had placed a ‘time bomb’ under Russia. He had in mind the introduction of the
federal principle after Lenin’s Bolsheviks took power in 1917. Lenin gave
national minorities their own republics within the Soviet Union. In so doing,
he created a situation which allowed those republics to secede from the Union
once communist power collapsed.
federalism brought other problems. The communists granted autonomy to the
larger nationalities in the form of 15 ‘republics.’ Smaller nationalities also
got autonomy, but of a different form – so-called ‘autonomous republics’ and
‘autonomous regions.’ When the union fell apart, fully-fledged republics got
independence, but the autonomous republics and regions within them did not.
many of the smaller minorities were not too happy with this somewhat arbitrary
outcome, and attempted to secede from the seceding republics. The result was
several wars, the first of which took place in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous
Region, an Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan, after it attempted to secede
from Azerbaijan and join with Armenia. The war ended in an Armenian victory.
Not only did the Armenians drive the Azeris out of Nagorno-Karabakh, but they
also captured a swath of Azeri territory linking Armenia with the breakaway
became a de-facto independent state, albeit one recognized by nobody and
entirely dependent on Armenian support. Azerbaijan, meanwhile, has never
abandoned its claim to its lost province nor to the territories seized by
Armenia. The result has been occasional military clashes between Yerevan and
Baku over the past 30 years.
weekend, violence once again flared up on the front lines between the Armenian
and Azeri forces. The Armenian government announced that it had repulsed an
enemy offensive and issued a video showing the destruction of several items of
Azeri military equipment. The Azeri government, in turn, accused Armenia of
attacking it, and declared that it had launched its own counter-offensive in
which it had ‘liberated’ several villages. Armenia has now mobilized its army.
Many fear the outbreak of all-out war.
explanation for the recent flare-up may be that Azerbaijan feels much stronger
than it did when it suffered its defeat at the hands of Armenia 30 years ago.
The Azeri economy, benefitting from substantial oil reserves, has outgrown that
of its neighbor, as has the Azeri population – there are 10 million Azeris
compared with only three million Armenians. Azerbaijan has invested heavily in
its military and may feel much more confident about its prospects should
matters escalate further.
explanation may be the support Azerbaijan is receiving from its primary ally –
Turkey. Following this weekend’s clashes, Turkish president Recep Erdogan
called on ‘the entire world to stand with Azerbaijan in its battle against
invasion.’ Such Turkish support may embolden the Azeri leadership not to back
down if things begin to get out of hand.
has officially adopted a position of neutrality in the Nagorno-Karabakh
dispute, and called on all sides to settle their differences peacefully. This
has meant supporting the status quo. Since that status quo favours Armenia, in
reality this position has meant supporting Armenia, a posture reinforced by
Armenia’s membership of various multilateral initiatives sponsored by Russia,
notably the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Eurasian Economic
conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh thus indirectly pits Russia against Turkey. It
also undermines a common narrative that claims that Russia seeks to undermine
democracy and promote authoritarian forms of government. After all, Russia’s
ally Armenia is a democracy whereas Turkey’s ally, Azerbaijan, is not.
is not the only location where Russian and Turkish proxies are clashing. In
Syria, Russia has been backing the government of Bashar Assad while Turkey has
been propping up the anti-Assad rebels in Idlib province. And in Libya, Russia
is said to support rebel general Khalifa Haftar, while Turkey recently sent
substantial aid to the government forces in Tripoli to help drive Haftar’s
troops away from the capital.
has good reasons, therefore, to regard Turkey as a spoiler, undermining Russian
influence in the Caucasus, Middle East, and North Africa. But Russia isn’t the
only state that Turkey has irritated in recent years. Turkey currently has poor
relations with fellow NATO members, and this provides an opportunity which
Russia can exploit for its own advantage. Economic opportunities also beckon in
Turkey, as seen by the recent Turkish decision to purchase Russian-made S-400
whenever Russia and Turkey have clashed in recent years, the Russian government
has sought to rapidly calm things down. Unsurprisingly, it is now taking the
same approach regarding the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. On the one hand,
Russia needs to stand by its Armenian ally. On the other hand, it wishes to
avoid an escalation which would bring it into conflict with Turkey. A
restoration of the ceasefire and the status-quo ante thus serves it best.
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs therefore issued a statement declaring
that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was “intensively conducting talks to induce
the parties to immediately cease firing and start negotiations to stabilize the
now, this approach may work. In the longer term, though, economic and
demographic considerations mean that power in the Southern Caucasus will likely
continue to shift in Azerbaijan’s favor. As it does, Russia’s balancing act
vis-à-vis Turkey could become increasingly difficult to maintain.
Update: 2020 Sept 29
Azerbaijan-Armenian War – Turkish F-16s Enter the Game
Armenian-Azerbaijani war continues raging in the South Caucasus.
of September 29, the Azerbaijani advance in the Nagorno-Karabakh region struck
the Armenian defense and Azerbaijani forces were not able to achieve any
military breakthroughs. Armenian troops withdrew from several positions in the
Talish area and east of Fuzuli.
Azerbaijani military has been successfully employing combat drones and
artillery to destroy positions and military equipment of Armenia, but
Azerbaijani mechanized infantry was unable to develop its momentum any further.
both sides claim that they eliminated multiple enemy fighters and made notable
gains, the real situation on the ground remains more or less stable with minor
gains achieved by Azerbaijani troops. Armenian sources say that 370 Azerbaijani
troops were killed and over 1,000 injured. The number of killed Armenian
fighters, according to Azerbaijani sources, is over 1,000. Armenian sources
also note the notable role of Turkey in the developing conflict.
President Armen Sarkissian said that Turkey has been assisting Azerbaijan in
its war against the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic with advisers, mercenaries and
even F-16 fighter jets. He added that the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict is still possible through dialogue. However, the President emphasized
that the Armenian nation cannot allow a return to the past.
years ago, the Ottoman Empire carried out the genocide of the Armenians. In no
case can we allow this genocide to be repeated,” Sarkissian said.
threatens to use Iskander short-range ballistic missile systems obtained from
Russia against Azerbaijani targets if Turkish F-16 warplanes are employed on
Armenian Ambassador to Russia Vardan Toganyan said that members of
Turkish-backed Syrian militant groups have been already participating in the
conflict. He said that recently about 4,000 Turkish-backed militants were
deployed to Azerbaijan. In turn, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan said
that “people who have arrived from Syria and other countries of the Middle
East” are fighting on the side of Armenia. Earlier, pro-Turkish sources claimed
that Armenia was transporting fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection
Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to the disputed
Nagorno-Karabakh region. Thus, the sides are not only claiming that they are
gaining an upper hand in the war, but also accuse each other of using foreign
mercenaries and terrorists.
the evening of September 28, the Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic confirmed that 84 of its troops were killed in the
recent escalation. The Armenian side also claimed that its forces had shot down
an Azerbaijani aircraft. However, this claim was denied by the Azerbaijani
military. Baku continues insisting that all Armenian claims about the
Azerbaijani casualties in the war are fake news.
September 29, the Armenian side continued reporting about Azerbaijani
helicopters being shot down, and declaring that they repelled Azerbaijani
attacks. Nonetheless, the scale and intensity of the strikes by the Azerbaijani
side did not demonstrate any decrease. On top of this, the Armenian Defense
Ministry said that a Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet shot down an Armenian
Su-25 warplane. The F-16 fighter jet allegedly took off from the Ganja Airbase
in Azerbaijan and was providing air cover to combat UAVs, which were striking
targets in Armenia’s Vardenis, Mec Marik and Sotk. Azerbaijan and Turkey denied
Armenian claims that a Turkish F-16 shot down the Su-25.
far, no side has achieved a strategic advantage in the ongoing conflict.
However, the Azerbaijani military, which receives extensive support from
Turkey, is expected to have better chances in the prolonged conflict with
Armenia, if Erevan does not receive direct military support from Russia.