YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Citing heightened military skirmishes in the Karabakh conflict zone, Armenia’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday declared that the ceasefire, which was reached in May 1994, is all but dead, due to Azerbaijan’s continuous violations.
“This is a war, and I would ask you to use the term ‘war’ and not to use the phrase ‘ceasefire violation’ because, in effect, we don’t have a ceasefire anymore,” the Defense Ministry spokesperson Artsrun Hovannesyan told reporters on Tuesday. “We don’t have a peace there. What we have is relative calm.”
In recent weeks, Azerbaijan has stepped up its aggression on the Karabakh-Azerbaijan line, using heavier artillery than usual, even deploying a tank http://asbarez.com/142689/azerbaijan-uses-tank-to-shell-karabakh-positions/ for the first time since the ceasefire agreement was signed. Last week alone, four Karabakh soldiers were killed and other wounded.
Hovanessyan told reporters that according to Armenian sources, some 210 Azerbaijani soldiers have been killed in combat during 2015, asserting that Azerbaijan conceals the figures of its casualties
Hovannesyan called Azerbaijan’s strategy a “desperate step,” adding that Azerbaijan has failed to secure a strategic advantage over Armenian forces.
“Why have they switched to tank and howitzer fire?” he said. “Because during previous incidents they killed one or two Armenian soldiers but got a tougher response. We didn’t let them do more. They failed to reach their overall objective.”
Fighting also intensified on the eve of a summit between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in Bern, Switzerland on Saturday, making this one of the most violent years since the ceasefire.
On Monday, after assuming the chairmanship of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, President Serzh Sarkisian admonished http://asbarez.com/143392/as-csto-president-sarkisian-warns-azerbaijan/ his fellow CSTO member states for abandoning Karabakh, which he called a failure of the security organization’s mission.
“Every time the Azerbaijani Armed Forces use automatic guns, mortars and artillery against the Republic of Armenia, they shoot in the direction of Astana, Dushanbe and Bishkek, Moscow and Minsk,” said Sarkisian referring to the capitals of the CSTO member states.
“The enemy has used different means, but has never succeeded. Therefore, we can say Azerbaijan is moving along the path of exhausting its important forces–exhausting its ‘golden fund,’” Hovannesyan said.