YEREVAN, November 18. /ARKA/. In a statement issued today the Chief of Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces Onik Gasparyan calls on fellow citizens not to despair saying that ‘we must continue to defend the borders of our homeland.’
“Dear compatriots, comrades in arms. From the very first minutes of the war launched by Azerbaijan, its ally Turkey and Middle Eastern mercenaries against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), its defense army did everything in its power fighting selflessly not for life, but to the death,” Gasparyan says in the statement.
He says some politicians accuse the leadership of the Armed Forces of presenting the head of the government with an unrealistic analysis of the likely nature of the enemy’s actions and the capabilities of its armed forces, which is not true.
‘I was appointed Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces on June 8 of this year and already on June 12 presented to the Prime Minister of Armenia, and a few days later to the Security Council, an analysis of the military-political situation in the region and the capabilities of our Armed Forces.
Based on the analysis, I made proposals to improve the level of military security in the country. In particular, I noted that
1. From now on, our adversary is not only Azerbaijan, but also Turkey. Consequently, Armenia cannot effectively resist the combined military potential of these states, and it is necessary to apply all the political and diplomatic potential to avoid or at least postpone a war.
2. The proposal was accepted by the Security Council and the Prime Minister, but the question was asked: “And if the war cannot be avoided, what should be done?” I replied that in the war imposed on us, we should try to inflict heavy losses on the enemy as soon as possible and force it to abandon further actions. I pointed out that we must avoid a protracted war, given the availability of our resources. Numerous proposals were discussed and approved, the implementation of which was supposed to significantly increase our combat potential: this concerned both the acquisition of weapons and military equipment, and the all-round support of combat operations.
3. Then the question was raised about the formation of militia groups numbering hundreds of thousands of people. Nevertheless, we did not manage to avoid the war, and on September 27 the enemy launched an offensive along the entire front in Artsakh with many times superior forces. The defense army successfully repelled all these attacks, inflicting heavy losses, destroying a large number of manpower and military equipment. Unfortunately, our troops also suffered heavy losses.
On the fourth day of the war, during the meeting of the Security Council, I presented our losses and the assessment of the Armed Forces of the situation, noting that measures must be taken to end the war in two or three days. Otherwise, in conditions of such an intensity of hostilities, our resources will be depleted in a short time, and every next day we will have more unfavorable conditions for the negotiation process. I have repeatedly presented similar assessments during my round-the-clock work with the Prime Minister, as well as at the meetings of the Security Council.
All attempts and proposals to stop the war at a certain stage were rejected by Turkey and Azerbaijan, and we were forced to continue the hostilities, trying to inflict heavy losses on the enemy and force it to sit down at the negotiating table.
For all of us, the agreement (to end the war) on very difficult terms was really adopted as a result of a comprehensive assessment of the situation. We had to choose between a very bad situation and a tragedy. We chose the very bad. This day was the worst day of my life, my personal tragedy.
But the realization that as a result of this decision, we managed to preserve most of Artsakh and the main military potential of the Defense Army, suggests that we have no right to fall into depression, we must unite, quickly recover and prepare to continue the struggle.
As Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces and direct commander, I am responsible for all the successes and failures of the Armed Forces.
I bow my head in memory of all the fallen and before their families. A very cruel war was imposed on us, and in the unequal struggle the Armenian soldiers and officers showed determination to fight to the end and the highest moral and volitional qualities. It was a real heroic battle, a battle for survival. The Armenian nation can be proud of its soldiers, officers and generals.
Fighting comrades! We must not despair and must continue to defend the borders of our homeland, seriously analyze, draw conclusions, and, having restored the Armenian army, increase its combat capability.
Thank you for your selfless service. With a high level of consciousness and responsibility, we will fulfill the combat tasks assigned to us, with our unity and unshakable will we will deserve the dedication of our comrades-in-arms and sacred victims.
On November 9, the leaders of the Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a statement to end the war in the zone of the Karabakh conflict from November 10. According to the statement, Azerbaijani and Armenian forces were to stop at their positions.
A number of districts controlled by the Armenian forces of Karabakh are to be returned to Azerbaijan, including the city of Shushi, as well as Aghdam, Kelbajar and Lachin regions, with the exception of a 5-kilometer corridor connecting Karabakh with Armenia through Lachin.
A Russian peacekeeping contingent is deployed along the line of contact in Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor. Internally displaced persons and refugees are returning to Karabakh and surrounding areas. The sides exchange prisoners of war, hostages and other detained persons and bodies of the dead.