Flare up in Karabakh – what Baku and Yerevan are saying
Combat has resumed in Karabakh around two villages. There are dead and wounded, and both sides point the figure at the other for the first flare up of violence since the November 10 truce.
Azerbaijan announced an ‘anti-terrorist operation’ against Armenian militants, while Armenia said an attack had been launched by the Azerbaijani military on civilians.
Information from Baku
The State Security Service and the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan made a joint statement on December 13, which refers to a ‘counter-terrorist operation’ of the Azerbaijani special services on the territory of the Khojavend region in Karabakh.
“After the declaration of the armistice in the north-western part of the Gadrut settlement of the Khojavend region of Azerbaijan, some Armenian armed formations remained in the forest area.
Armenian media said they got lost in the forest. The Armenian side appealed to the command of the peacekeeping forces of the Russian Federation for their withdrawal from the territory, and the Azerbaijani side provided all the conditions for this.
In difficult weather conditions, the servicemen of the Russian peacekeeping contingent arrived at the scene and, using loudspeakers, addressed the Armenian armed formations in the forest. […]
But [the militants] did not leave the territory and instead created combat positions there […] and for several days carried out sabotage against civilians and military personnel.
Thus, as a result of a surprise attack on November 26 on servicemen of the Ministry of Defense in the liberated from occupation village of Sur, Khojavend region, three Azerbaijani servicemen were killed and two wounded.
On December 8, during the installation of communication equipment near the village of Hadrut, another serviceman was killed and an employee of Azercell was seriously injured.
Taking this into account, Azerbaijan was forced to conduct an anti-terrorist operation in this territory.”
Information from Yerevan
The Armenian Foreign Ministry stated on December 13 that “Azerbaijan violated the ceasefire in the area of the Khin Taglar and Khtsaberd settlements of the Hadrut region, taking advantage of the fact that peacekeeping forces were not deployed in this part of the Artsakh Republic”.
According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, this incident took place on December 11, six servicemen of the Karabakh Defense Army were wounded.
“Azerbaijani forces continued their provocative actions on December 13 in the direction of the settlements of Mets Shen and Khin Shen [Azerbaijani names Boyuk Galadyaryasi and Kehnia Galadyaryasi – JAMnews] […] These actions aim to devalue the presence of the peacekeeping forces of the Russian Federation in the conflict zone.
The Azerbaijani side carried out this provocation during the visit of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to the region. It is a challenge against [their] efforts. […]
This style of action once again demonstrates the Turkish-Azerbaijani expansionist policy, which continues to undermine regional security and stability and is fraught with spread to neighboring regions.
In the light of such actions of official Baku […], the de-occupation of the territories of Artsakh and the return of the Armenians of Artsakh to their places of residence become even more obligatory.”
The Armenian Foreign Ministry called on the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries to react to the actions of the Azerbaijani side.