OSCE Minsk Group Blames Azerbaijan for Missile Attack

A guided missile attack by Azerbaijan partially destroyed Artsakh military equipment (Photo: Defense Ministry of the Artsakh Republic)
A guided missile attack by Azerbaijan partially destroyed Artsakh military equipment (Photo: Defense Ministry of the Artsakh Republic)

A guided missile attack by Azerbaijan partially destroyed Artsakh military equipment (Photo: Defense Ministry of the Artsakh Republic)

YEREVAN—The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Ambassadors Igor Popov of Russia, Stephane Visconti of France, and Richard Hoagland of the United States of America, issued a statement on Friday holding Azerbaijan accountable for the missiles fired in an attack against the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Republic on the night of May 16-17. The Minsk Group further condemned their ceasefire violations.

The Azerbaijani armed forces launched a Spike guided missile attack Monday afternoon, partially destroying military equipment, defense officials in Armenia and Artsakh confirmed, and reported no casualties.

The offensive used 60-mm mortars and an antitank grenade launcher at different parts of the Artsakh-Azerbaijan border.

The statement by the Minsk Group can be read below in its entirety.

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According to information collected from multiple reliable sources, on 15 May, Azerbaijani armed forces fired a missile across the Line of Contact, striking military equipment. On the evening of 16 May and continuing into 17 May, Armenian armed forces retaliated with mortar fire of various calibers. These actions by both sides represent significant violations of the ceasefire and are cause for alarm.

There are contradictory reports regarding the targets of these recent strikes, as well as about casualties sustained and damages inflicted. The Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office continue to collect further data and analysis to gain more complete and accurate information about the current situation.

The Co-Chairs condemn these recent ceasefire violations and call upon the sides to take all necessary measures to prevent any further escalation in the conflict zone.

Foreign Affairs Minister Edward Nalbandian meets Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland on May 19, 2017 in Nicosia, Cyprus. (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia)

Foreign Affairs Minister Edward Nalbandian meets Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland on May 19, 2017 in Nicosia, Cyprus. (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia)

Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian during a meeting with Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland on May 19 in Cyrus highlighted Baku’s continuous ceasefire violations.

Nalbandian stressed that Armenia and the OSCE Minsk Group work together to uphold a peaceful settlement of the Artsakh conflict while “Armenia constantly calls on the OSCE Minsk Group to point out the party responsible for ceasefire violations.”

“Baku is doing the utmost to disrupt the peace process,” Nalbandian said. “Opposing the consistent calls of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the international community to strongly observe the ceasefire regime, Azerbaijan keeps violating the trilateral agreements on ceasefire.

Nalbandian stressed that “By turning down the creation of an investigation mechanism, Azerbaijan is trying to avoid responsibility for periodic violations of the ceasefire regime,” Nalbandian said.

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