YEREVAN (Public Radio of Armenia)—According to Colonel General Yuri Khachaturov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia, there is no need to deploying peacekeepers in the Karabakh conflict zone. Khachaturov made the statement at the opening of the “Enduring Brotherhood 2015” exercises in Armenia.
“We are able to deter Azeri provocations ourselves,” Khachaturov said. According to him, the Azerbaijan has used thousands of missiles and mines over the last 15 days, which have exploded in Armenian civilian settlements 10 kilometers away from the frontline.
“We have given a worthy response. They have serious losses,” Khachaturov said, adding that, “unlike Azerbaijan, the Armenian side refrains from shelling villages.”
Khachaturov noted that representatives of the Ministry of Defense visited the frontline, meeting with villagers effected by the recent attacks, and informed them about the measures taken by Armenia’s armed forces.
“However, it’s impossible to fully exclude the incidents, as the rival uses mortars and howitzers,” Khachaturov said.
Khachaturov said that on many occasions Armenia has offered to pull back its snipers and investigate every case of civilian deaths, but Baku has turned down all suggestions.
As for the lack of appropriate response from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) command, the Khachaturov said it would be welcome. “We are part of the same security system. We do not ask for help, but human support would be welcome,” Khachaturov said.
The joint exercise of the CSTO peacekeeping forces, code-named Nerushimoe Bratstvo (Enduring Brotherhood) will begin in Armenia on Wednesday, TASS reports.
The drills are held in accordance with the decision of the CSTO Council of Defense Ministers and the Committee of CSTO Security Council Secretaries, adopted in December 2014. Their purpose is the “preparation and conduct of peacekeeping operations by the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces in the Caucasus region of collective security.”
The exercise will involve representatives and units of the Armenian Armed Forces and law enforcement agencies of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, all members of the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces. In addition, representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as well as the Joint Staff and the Secretariat of the CSTO will attend the drills.
The Armenian Defense Ministry reported previously that “the commanders and staffs during the exercise will drill preparation of a peacekeeping operation and command and control of units of the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces.”
The Russian army will be represented at the drills by 100 troops of the peacekeeping brigade of the Central Military District and 10 military hardware units, a Defense Ministry official told TASS.
The total number of troops contributed to the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces is about 4,000, including about 500 officers of law enforcement bodies and emergencies ministries. The Nerushimoe Bratstvo peacekeeping exercise has been held annually since 2012.