Fresh clashes at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, Yerevan asks Russia to intervene
19.00, November 16
Events at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, where military clashes took place on November 16:
- 1 Armenian soldier was killed during clashes at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border on November 16. 12 servicemen were captured – 7 contract soldiers and 5 conscripts.
- “Today, another provocation by Armenia was committed at the border, to which an adequate response was given. There are wounded on the Azerbaijani side. All responsibility for the situation on the border rests with the military-political leadership of Armenia”, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in an interview with the head of the European Council Charles Michel.
- In a telephone conversation with Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu expressed his readiness “to make efforts to end hostilities, return prisoners of war and resolve the crisis”.
16.00, November 16
The Defense Ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan report a serious escalation at the border, although statements and assessments of the conflict sides are very different. Both Baku and Yerevan accuse each other of provoking the new escalation at the border.
- Armenian Defense Minister resigns as tensions rise at Armenian-Azerbaijani border
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- Foreign Minister: Armenia is ready to overcome the atmosphere of enmity
Reports from Yerevan
Statement by the Secretary of the Security Council
Yerevan addressed Moscow with an appeal to protect the sovereign territory of Armenia in accordance with the 1997 bilateral agreement. Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia Armen Grigoryan stated this on the air of the Public Television.
He said that the Security Council of Armenia drew the attention of its strategic ally Russia and the CSTO military bloc, of which the entire international community is a member, to the continuing aggressive actions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. The Armenian side emphasizes that these actions are directed against the sovereignty, territorial integrity of Armenia and the regional security and stability of the country, and also contradicts the provisions of the trilateral statement of November 9, 2020.
Statement of Armenian Defense Ministry
Earlier, the Armenian Defense Ministry reported that “on November 16, at about 13:00, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces began another provocation in the direction of the eastern border of the Republic of Armenia, shelling the Armenian positions. Subdivisions of the RA Armed Forces undertook retaliatory actions to prevent the enemy’s offensive”.
Then the military department reported that as of 14:30 the situation on the eastern border had deteriorated even more, there were local battles, “the enemy used artillery, armored vehicles and firearms of various calibers”. The statement of the Ministry of Defense again said that the Armenian side was taking retaliatory actions.
As of 15.00, the Armenian side reported four wounded, the data on the dead is still being specified. The statement of the Ministry of Defense also says that by this hour the situation on the eastern direction of the border has not undergone significant changes. There are local battles with the use of artillery, armored vehicles and small arms.
Foreign Ministry’s statement
The Armenian Foreign Ministry stated that the offensive actions of the Azerbaijani side led to human casualties:
“This latest attack is a continuation of the consistent policy of the Azerbaijani side to occupy the territories of the Republic of Armenia, which was initiated on May 12 this year by the penetration of the Azerbaijani armed forces into the Syunik and Gegharkunik regions of Armenia. By these actions, Azerbaijan also violates the tripartite statement of November 9, since the Azerbaijani side is committing attacks against the Republic of Armenia from the territories that have passed to the Azerbaijani side as a result of the implementation of this statement”.
The Republic of Armenia, in accordance with the UN Charter, has the right to reflect the use of force against its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
We call on the international community and our international partners – Russia, the CSTO, the co-chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group and the co-chairing countries to respond clearly to these actions, undermining regional peace and security, and to take effective steps towards their prevention and the unconditional and complete withdrawal of Azerbaijani armed forces from the territory Of the Republic of Armenia”.
Civil society’s demands
A number of authoritative organizations in Armenia issued a statement demanding that the country’s authorities apply directly to the UN Security Council.
They believe that the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister should report on the aggressive actions of Azerbaijan and its attempts to violate the territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia:
“On November 11, 2021, the next stage of escalation began. While the Armenian authorities are in no hurry to appeal to international organizations with a request to initiate delimitation and demarcation processes based on international standards, Azerbaijan began occupying certain sections of the border with Armenia by means of “creeping annexation”. […]
It is obvious that the Russian Federation does not consider it expedient to intervene, and the partners in the Collective Security Treaty Organization prefer to maintain bilateral relations with Azerbaijan and not to fulfill their obligations within the framework of the CSTO.
In this situation, the current authorities of the Republic of Armenia are directly responsible for ensuring the security of the citizens of the Republic of Armenia, who are obliged to act quickly and decisively to prevent violations of human rights and threats to their security”.
A statement was made by the Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, the Defense of Rights Without Borders, the Vanadzor office of the Helsinki Civil Assembly and 14 other organizations, including media outlets.
The situation has worsened since November 14, when “the Azerbaijani Armed Forces invaded the sovereign territory of Armenia from positions to the east”. As a result, four combat positions of the Armenian Armed Forces were blockaded. Following the negotiations, with the mediation of the Russian side, Azerbaijani servicemen and armored vehicles were withdrawn from the territory of Armenia. However, the Armenian units also left their four positions.
After that, Armenian Defense Minister Arshak Karapetyan was dismissed, and Suren Papikyan, who had previously held the post of Deputy Prime Minister, became the new minister.
Reports from Baku
The situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border has seriously aggravated. The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry has already issued urgent official statements three times over November 16.
“Armenian armed forces have committed large-scale provocations against Azerbaijan in the Kalbajar and Lachin regions of the state border”, reads the first message of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.
“On November 16, at about 11:00, Armenian military formations launched a sudden military operation in order to capture the high grounds in this direction of the state border and take more advantageous positions, thereby gaining military superiority.
“Armenian military units, assembling additional forces, special military equipment at the border combat positions in the Basarkechar and Garakilsa regions, attacked the combat posts of the Azerbaijan Army in the Kalbajar and Lachin regions.
“The opposing side using weapons of various caliber and grenade launchers intensively firing on the positions of the Azerbaijan Army, damaged the combat posts. As a result, according to preliminary information, two servicemen of the Azerbaijan Army were wounded. The servicemen were provided with urgent medical assistance. There is no danger to their life.
“Army Corps and forces of the Azerbaijan Army stationed in the direction of the Kalbajar and Lachin regions immediately carried out an emergency operation to suppress combat activity of the Armenian armed forces. First, the movement of the opposing side was limited, as well as its forces and means were damaged. As a result of the decisive measures taken by the Azerbaijani servicemen, the Armenian servicemen were disarmed and detained, a large number of weapons of various calibers, and a large amount of ammunition were seized as trophies.
From an operational-tactical point of view, the attack carried out by the Armenian military units seeking to gain a short-term superiority through large-scale provocations, as well as another attempt of official Yerevan to commit provocation completely failed”, the Defense Ministry noted.
Later, the department issued another message:
“Armenian armed forces units continue large-scale provocations against Azerbaijan on the state border.
“To aggravate the situation on the state border, the military formations of the opposing side using mortars of various caliber and artillery pieces subjected to fire the Azerbaijan Army Units stationed in the Lachin region.
“The Azerbaijan Army Units are taking adequate measures to suppress the provocations of the Armenian side”.
The last message of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry notes that “in response to the provocation committed by the Armenian side, anti-tank installations and mortars were destroyed”.
“The situation on the border remains tense, combat operations are underway. The Ministry of Defense will regularly inform the public about the situation on the border”, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.