YEREVAN, July 17. /ARKA/. Russia will use every opportunity to resolve the current aggravation between Armenia and Azerbaijan. About this, as reported by TASS, said on Thursday the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Andrey Rudenko in an open interview with TASS First Deputy General Director Mikhail Gusman.
“I can only assure that we will do our best and show all the best qualities of Russian diplomacy, public diplomacy in order to not only [resolve] the current border conflict, but also as a whole, to relations between fraternal and close countries, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Russia has such opportunities, we have used them more than once, including during the last outbreak of hostilities around Nagorno-Karabakh in 2017. I am sure that all our capabilities will be used,” he said.
The deputy minister noted that “now the top-priority task of the entire international community is to quickly stop what has been happening in the last two days [on the border of Azerbaijan and Armenia].” “In this regard, the balanced position of those states that are also members of the Minsk Group is very important, and the Minsk Group for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement unites a much larger number of states than only the three co-chairs. Those countries that surround that border the region should show maximum balance, responsibility and restraint, also in public rhetoric,” Rudenko said.
About Escalation of Tension on Armenian-Azerbaijani Border
On July 12-14, the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan carried out aggressive actions against Armenia in the north-eastern direction of the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border. Azerbaijan made attempts to violate the state border in the Tavush region of Armenia using a tank, mortars, howitzers, drones and Grad MLRS.
The shelling was carried out on Armenian strongholds, the Armenian villages of Chinari, Aygepar, Nerkin Karmirakhpyur and Paravakar, as well as the city of Berd, were attacked. Two enterprises, houses of civilians, a gas pipeline, were hit. More than 50 artillery shells were fired at populated areas of Armenia. As of July 15, there is a relative lull.
Units of the Armenian Armed Forces give a proportionate response to periodic shelling and suppress enemy activity. Air defense units of the Armenian Armed Forces destroyed the control system of UAVs of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, as well as 13 drones.
According to the situation on Wednesday, as a result of shelling of the wound, 20 servicemen received lungs of moderate severity, the condition of one is assessed as serious. Major Garush Hambartsumyan, captain Sos Elbakyan, as well as junior sergeants Smbat Gabrielyan and Grisha Matevosyan were killed by the enemy’s shot. There are no casualties among the civilian population of Armenia. Azerbaijan officially confirmed the death of 11 people.
Concerns regarding the escalation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border were expressed, in particular, by the Russian Foreign Ministry and the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, Toivo Klaar, co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, the US Department of State, the United Nations, NATO, the ICRC and other international structures. The CSTO also expressed serious concern over the escalation of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and called for an immediate ceasefire. Concern was also expressed by the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov, saying that Moscow was ready for mediation efforts to resolve the situation.
2016 April War in Artsakh
From April 2 to 5, 2016, the Azerbaijani armed forces conducted active military actions, firing at positions and settlements of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic along almost the entire line of contact with the use of missile and artillery means, armored vehicles and aviation. The Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army successfully suppressed the enemy’s aggressive actions, as a result of which the Azerbaijani side suffered serious losses in manpower and equipment.
Karabakh conflict broke out in 1988 when Karabakh, mainly populated by Armenians, declared its independence from Azerbaijan.
On December 10, 1991, a few days after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a referendum took place in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the majority of the population (99.89%) voted for secession from Azerbaijan.
Afterwards, large-scale military operations began. As a result, Azerbaijan lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven regions adjacent to it. Some 30,000 people were killed in this war and about one million people fled their homes.
On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations. Since 1992, talks brokered by OSCE Minsk Group are being held over peaceful settlement of the conflict. The group is co-chaired by USA, Russia and France.