On December 11th, clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh appear to have resumed.
Both the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides blame each other.
According to initial reports, Azerbaijan’s media claimed that Armenian forces began an armed provocation in the Gadrut region, and an Azerbaijani soldier was wounded.
This was then denied by the Armenian side.
Armenian Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan made the following announcement:
“Azerbaijani Armed Forces tried to attack the Armenian post in the south of Artsakh, there was an exchange of fire.
On December 11th, at around 20:40, the enemy attempted to attack one of the positions of the Defense Army in the southern direction. As a result of the firefight, three military reservists were wounded of varying severity, their lives are out of danger. An investigation is underway to clarify the circumstances of the incident, Artsakh Defense Army reports.”
This, again, took place in the Gadrut region.
There are no reports of any further clashes, but it appears that the peace deal and the deployment of Russian peacekeepers isn’t guarantee enough that hostilities will not continue at any moment.
However, claims and reports such as these could be used as an justification of starting another “security operation” and not exactly an “offensive” in order to guarantee security, which could be used to push further.
In Azerbaijani social media there are rumors that back on December 9th, Azerbaijani servicemen were killed after a raid on Gadrut.
It is reported that three servicemen of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan were killed, one of them is Rahib Azizov. In addition, Azercell employees who were installing equipment in the occupied territories were “wounded and/or killed”. Azizov’s funeral took place on December 10th.
His alleged photograph is also being shared.
This could also be propaganda, preparing the people for another push on Nagorno-Karabakh, or a security operation.
In addition, on December 11th, an audio recording leaked, showing a conversation between Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan and member of Artsakh parliament Ruslan Israelyan.
Armenian media claim the conversation is with an Artsakh “unknown person”, but Israelyan confirmed that he was the “someone” in the recording. SOURCE
In the conversation, as can be seen on the transcript and heard in the audio, the Artsakh President spent 10 days asking Armenia for help, but no additional forces or weapons were deployed, which is further testifying to the mismanagement by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his aides.
The president also admitted to lying to the population, making it seem like the war was much more equal than it actually was, and they were expecting the Azerbaijani forces to reach Stepanakert in a matter of days.
It appears that Armenia’s problems are likely just beginning, as it should be reminded that during the Victory Parade on December 10th in Baku, both Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, as well as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made some interesting claims.
Aliyev said that “Zangazur, Goycha and Iravan districts are our historical lands.”
“Our people have lived in these lands for centuries, but the Armenian leadership expelled 100,000 Azerbaijanis from their native lands at the time. After that, the same situation was observed in Nagorno-Karabakh. The Armenian side used force to commit a war crime against the civilian population of Azerbaijan, perpetrated the Khojaly genocide. Then, in May 1992, the occupation of Shusha and Lachin created a geographical link between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. The occupation of Kalbajar district in April 1993 aggravated the situation and, in fact, led to the continuation of the policy of subsequent occupation.”
Erdogan praised the victory, and said that Armenia could cooperate with Turkey and Azerbaijan, but it simply needs to undergo a regime change before that.
As such, it is likely that provocations such as the one from December 11th are to take place, with variable frequency, and a possible “security operation” is coming on the way, since that is how Ankara appears to deal with situations such as these, Idlib and northeastern Syria stand as examples.
The Advisor to the president of Artsakh Davit Babayan calls the Azerbaijani attack attempt, launched on December 11 in the southern direction of the Defense Army, a provocative action also against Russia.
“There has been a provocative attempt to move forward, which was prevented. Fortunately, we do not have losses. These actions are directed both against Artsakh and Russia.
The possibility of such provocative actions is not ruled out in the future as well, but I think that the response will always be tough, including also by the peacekeepers. We need to clarify the circumstances of the incident”, he told Armenpress.
Meanwhile, the Russian peacekeeping forces appear to be keeping the situation stable.
The Russian peacekeepers have equipped the checkpoints with “Checkpoint” fortifications, which are designed to protect servicemen from firearms and splinters, as well as to carry out round-the-clock surveillance of nearby areas. The RF Ministry of Defense website informs about this.
The outlines of the “checkpoint” are equipped with GNT-2 and GNT-3 gabions. This structure fully protects the Russian peacekeeping force at this checkpoint from firearms and splinters.
The infrastructure of the checkpoint also includes two comfortable modules for staff accommodation, for cooking and eating, as well as a transport technology module, equipped with permanent power supply units.
All modules are equipped with the necessary household appliances, dishes, electrical appliances, heating and air conditioning systems.
It is also possible that Armenia hopes that in the case of a more serious provocation, the Russian armed forces would be actually put in a situation where they need to fight on behalf of Artsakh and Armenia, which is questionable, at best.
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