Armenia-Azerbaijan border relatively calm on 6th day of violence outbreak
However, tensions persist. 8,500 Azerbaijani citizens asked the military to allow them to join and serve. And in Armenia, they are discussing the possibility of Azerbaijan bombing the Armenian nuclear power plant.
At the time this article was published, four Armenian soldiers have been killed and 36 have been wounded.
On the Azerbaijani side, 13 military members were killed, including several officers, and there are no official data on the number of wounded.
More details below.
Information from Baku
Among the Azerbaijani pro-government media sources, the conflict at the border remained the main news story on July 17.
8,500 Azerbaijani citizens asked the military to allow them to serve.
But on social media, there were fewer people discussing whether or not the country should declare war on Armenia by the evening of July 17th. The larger story was the government’s decision to extend the strict quarantine for another two weeks. Another topic at the center of the discussion is the arrest of three journalists at a rally in Baku on July 15. Several thousand people were demanding the government resume military operations for Karabakh, and then the crowd broke into parliament. The protest was violently dispersed by the police.
The Prosecutor General’s Office stated that Armenia “committed crimes against civilians by shelling densely populated areas in order to aggravate the conflict.” A criminal case was opened against the Armenian military in connection with the fact that a house in Dondar Gushchu, in the Tovuz region, was destroyed by shelling on July 16.
The press service of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense reported that the Armenian side had “violated the ceasefire 97 times across several areas of the conflict zone” throughout the day.
These sorts of reports are periodically published by the media in both countries.
At the same time, the press service confirmed that things are “relatively calm near the Tovuz region on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border.”
“Our villages are not being shelled, but the general air of tension remains,” reported the press service.
The Turkish Parliament issued a statement once again reiterating that Turkey supports Azerbaijan. And the head of the defense industry department under the presidential administration, Ismail Demir, wrote on Twitter:
“Our defense industry, from our UAVs, weapons, ammunition and missiles, to our experience in electronic military systems, technologies, and capabilities are always available to Azerbaijan.”
Information from Yerevan
The main news discussed in Armenia was the threat of Azerbaijan launching a missile strike at the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant. A warning was issued on July 16 by the head of the press service of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry Vagif Dargyakhly:
“Armenia must not forget that the latest missile systems in Azerbaijan are capable of delivering a precise blow to the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant, which would be a disaster for Armenia.”
This statement was made in response to a question asked by journalists: Is it possible that Armenia will strike the Mingachevir Dam, which plays an important role in the country’s ecosystem?
Yerevan categorically denies that they have any intention of targeting the nuclear power plant.
In their response statement, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said that the threat of bombing the nuclear power plant “indicates a degree of despair and a crisis of consciousness in the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan.”
“Such threats are a direct manifestation of state terrorism […] These statements by the Azerbaijani leadership pose a threat to all the people in the region, including their own.”
The nuclear station is in close proximity to the Turkish border. Any emergency at the nuclear power plant will turn into a catastrophe not only for Armenia itself, but also for neighboring countries.
The Armenian Ministry of Defense confirms that the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border was relatively calm on the night of July 17 and throughout the day.
Military expert Artsrun Hovhannisyan says that Azerbaijani forces violated the ceasefire about 120 times on the border near the village of Tavush, where escalation began on July 12, and also near the village of Gegharkunik.
“Artillery was not used, Azerbaijan used small arms of various calibers…Given the number of violations and the type of weapon, we can say that there is a significant de-escalation of the situation,” the expert said.
Hovhannisyan says that Azerbaijan shelled territory near Karabakh, but that situation in this area is generally calm.