Leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan on the intermediate conclusions of the war in Karabakh
Armenian PM Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Aliyev answered six questions from the Russian state news agency RIA News about the hostilities in Karabakh that have been ongoing since September 27.
Q: How do you assess the results of hostilities since September 27, what losses have both sides accrued and are there many prisoners?
Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan
Many experts say that the scale of this war is unprecedented for the 21st century.
All kinds of military equipment are in play: tanks, drones, planes and helicopters, armored vehicles, artillery, missile artillery. And many soldiers have been drafted to participate in the military operations.
These are very large-scale and brutal battles are being waged. For the time being, we can say that Turkey and Azerbaijan’s plans to take control of Nagorno-Karabakh through blitzkrieg have failed.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
Azerbaijan has once again come under attack by the Armenian armed forces, and this was not the first attack in the past three months.
As of today, we have 43 civilian deaths and more than 200 wounded, about 2,000 houses are either completely destroyed or damaged.
We will announce the losses among the military personnel after the conflict dies down.
To date, dozens of settlements have been liberated from occupation.
Q: To what degree should we believe claims that there are mercenaries from Syria or Libya fighting for Azerbaijan? Are there any foreigners fighting for Armenia?
There is evidence that terrorist fighters from Syria are participating in the battles against Karabakh. This evidence has been published on social media and media sources. The whole world is already talking about it.
It is obvious that Turkey is the main sponsor of this war. Turkey has hired and deployed these terrorist fighters into the conflict zone.
They are not only involved in the strategic aspect of military operations, but also [in operations on the ground].
Some sources say that special forces of the Pakistani army are also involved.
This is a full-scale regional conflict that affects the interests of all countries in the region.
As for the Armenian side, there may be some Armenians who came from the diaspora to support their compatriots. But they cannot be considered mercenaries.
There is no need for foreign military participation in Azerbaijan. Our army consists of more than 100,000 fighters and, if necessary, with a draft, this figure can be increased several times.
Azerbaijan has consistently fought against international terrorism, and we will never allow any terrorist organizations to build nests on our territory.
No one has provided us with any evidence of the presence of foreign armed formations taking part in the current military clashes in the territory of Azerbaijan.
Our official position is that we have no foreign mercenaries.
Q: The Moscow [Armistice] Agreements of October 10 mention the basic principles of a settlement. How do you understand them?
The right to self-determination of peoples, no use of force or threats to use force, and territorial integrity.
But during the negotiation process, it turned out that different parties interpreted these principles in different ways.
And now we have a situation where one of these very important principles has already been violated—the agreement not to use force or the threat of force to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.
The liberation of the occupied Azerbaijani territories.
During the first stage, the southeastern part, five districts.
And during the second stage, the territory between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia: the Lachin and Kelbajar regions.
Opening all supply lines.
Returning refugees and internally displaced persons to their places of origin, which implies the return of Azerbaijani refugees to the territory of Shusha and other areas of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region.
Negotiations on the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Q: What compromises would you be willing to make? And is there a line of retreat that you will not cross under any circumstances?
The “red line” for Armenia is the right to self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Armenian side cannot give this up.
The Moscow Declaration [ceasefire, signed October 10, 2020] outlined concrete steps to re-establish the negotiation process.
We are ready to make compromises proportional to those that Azerbaijan is ready to make.
Under no circumstances can the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan be violated.
Under no circumstances will Azerbaijan consent to the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Our proposal is that in the future, the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities should live and coexist peacefully on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Q: This war has already gone down in history as a particularly brutal one. How would you like this page of history to be written?
This is not a matter of personal ambition. I would like the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to be finally resolved as a result of this war. Based on a compromise.
So that we can find a solution that would be acceptable to all parties—Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan.
And I would like for it to be a final and definitive solution.
All wars are brutal. The difference is that this is a war of liberation for the Azerbaijani people, and a war of aggression for Armenia.
The so-called army of Nagorno-Karabakh does not exist. 90% of the servicemen are Armenian citizens. They are drafted for military service by the Armenian military registration and enlistment offices.
Today, there are Armenian occupation forces in the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan. And nothing can justify this: neither from the point of view of international law, nor from the point of view of morality.
Q: Any last thoughts you would like to add?
I am sure that Turkey (wants) to return to the South Caucasus to continue its policy of the Armenian genocide.
This is a continuation of Turkey’s imperial policy.
Turkey is conducting this policy in the Mediterranean, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Greece and Cyprus.
Turkey wants to redistribute the South Caucasus, take control of it, make it a springboard for further expansion to the north, east and south-east.
I think that this situation affects the national security interests of many countries, including, first and foremost, the Russian Federation.
The collapse of the USSR began with separatism in Nagorno-Karabakh. This was the trigger. Many people forget these rallies, who organized them, who was behind them.
I often say that Pashinyan is a product of Soros. And I think everyone will agree with me.
Soros is no longer even a person, it is a concept. I do not exclude the possibility that even then, these instruments were used to destroy the great country.
Rip it apart from within, sow discord, pit people against each other and destroy the state. And that is what happened.