Azeri Defense Ministry Says It Is Prepared for War

An article published Saturday in the Azeri newspaper Ayana Zerkalo reported that the Azeri defense ministry is confident and prepared for an alleged missile attack by Armenia’s in Nagorno-Karabakh. Below is the complete text of the article.

"We Are Not Afraid of Armenian Missiles," Says Azeri Defense Ministry

From Ayna-Zerkalo

Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Lieutenant-General Safar Abiyev does not enjoy socializing. Especially with journalists. But from time to time the defense agency chief agrees to answer a few questions. Usually it happens after media outlets publish reports criticizing his ministry.

Just recently the Russian TV channels broadcast a series on the tenth anniversary of the self-proclaimed "Nagornyi Karabakh Republic" from which it followed that "NKR" has created a combat- effective and mobile army. This in turn led to the reports in the Azeri press about the problems of the Azeri army. And Abiyev had to officially deny those rumors.

In his interview–Abiyev stated that "people claiming that Azerbaijan does not have a battle-worthy army are seriously wrong." In his words–our armed forces are quite capable–and are ready to defend its people at any time.

Asked to comment on the inclusion of Nagorno-Karabakh into the system of joint air-defense of Armenia and Russia–S. Abiyev replied: "We are aware that the air-defense systems were delivered to Nagorno- Karabakh from Armenia. And we also know that these systems–including "Krug" came from the Russian military bases in Armenia," he continued.

The general declined to answer whether the Su-25 fighter planes–that participated in the military parade during the "anniversary celebrations" in Khankendi [Azeri for Stepanakert]–came from the Khodjalu airfield or from Armenia. "Let’s not talk about this now. We practically know all we need to know.

Nobody shall catch us by surprise," stated the minister. Abiyev’s reluctance is understandable–military secrets should stay secret. We would want to hope–however–that the words reflect reality in the defense ministry.

Commenting on the information about continued flights of the military aircraft based in Armenia into the occupied territories of Azerbaijan–Abiyev responded: "Yes–there had been such case [in the past]–but none lately."

With regard to the recently resumed shelling along the line of confrontation of Armenian and Azeri forces–according to the minister–that is in fact the case–and our units are ready to repel any attempts by the enemy to capture positions of the National army.

To the question about the danger that "Scud" missiles–that Armenia received from the Russian Federation–present to objects in Azerbaijan–Abiyev replied that our republic has the necessary air-defense systems to defend from this type of missiles. He noted–that "Scud" was used during the war in the Persian Gulf in 1991–but did not cause much damage.

"This is an aging missile–which–however–is capable of carrying a chemical or nuclear charge. Scud’s accuracy is not great–within several kilometers–and its warhead weighs 900 kilograms,"–stated the minister–adding that Azerbaijan has weaponry that is more modern and several times more effective than these missiles.

But bombs are not the only pride of our army. The other is its soldiers. S. Abiyev categorically denied the reports–that the servicemen are starving. According to him–the armed forces are supplied with everything necessary.

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