STEPANAKERT—After not showing up to a regular OSCE monitoring mission on Tuesday, Azerbaijani Forces launched an attack at Artsakh positions in the eastern and northern fronts of the Nagorno-Karabakh Azerbaijan border, known as the Line of Contact.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Ministry reported extensive shelling by Azerbaijani forces between 5 p.m. to 6:50 p.m. local time, using mortars and other heavy artillery to shoot at Artsakh military positions, especially in Talish, the site of the most aggressive fighting during last April’s four-day war.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Armed Forces said that the entire responsibility for the provocation initiated by the Azerbaijani units, and their consequences, rests on the military and political leadership of Baku. In the event that such actions continue, “the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Army reserves the right to take non-proportional steps to ensure the security of the state borders of Artsakh.”
Earlier Tuesday, Azerbaijani forces failed to lead the mission to its front lines during the OSCE monitoring mission of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan border—Line of Contact.
According to the Artsakh Foreign Ministry, the planned monitoring passed in accordance with the agreed schedule and no ceasefire violation was registered. The monitoring took place in the Hadrut region of Artsakh, north of Horadiz.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic presidential spokesperson David Babayan told panorama.am that this is not the first, nor, in his opinion, it will be the last time that Azerbaijan fails to lead the monitoring mission to its positions on the Line of Contact.
“These incidents complicate the work of the OSCE missions. Ceasefire observation missions have no political relevance and are solely aimed at observing the situation on the Line of Contact at the time. The Azerbaijani side displays non-constructive approach even in these matters,” Babayan said, adding that he could not recall cases when the Armenian side refused to lead OSCE Mission to its front line positions.
Babayan said, introduction of the investigative mechanisms is vital for maintaining peace and stability. “This case comes to demonstrate once again we are dealing with an inadequate neighbor, from whom we can expect anything,” concluded Babayan.
The regular monitoring of the Artsakh-Azerbaijan border was a provision agreed to by presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan when they met in Vienna and St. Petersburg following the four-day war in April during talks mediated by the US, Russia and France.
On Tuesday, from the positions of the Artsakh Defense Army, the monitoring was conducted by Field Assistants to the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Khristo Khristov (Bulgaria) and Jiri Aberle (Czech Republic), and Personal Assistant to the CiO Personal Representative Simon Tiller (Great Britain).
From the opposite side of the Line of Contact, the monitoring was conducted by Personal Representative of the OSCE CiO Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, Field Assistant to the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Ghenadie Petrica (Moldova), and staff member of the Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Peter Svedberg (Sweden).
From the Karabakh side, the monitoring mission was accompanied by representatives of the Artsakh Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Defense.