Azeri Assault on Karabakh Outpost Kills Four Armenian Soldiers

Deadly Skirmishes Continue Throughout the Weekend

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Azeri forces launched an attack on positions in Mardakert Friday, killing four Karabakh soldiers and wounding as many one day after a Armenian and Azeri presidential summit on Nagorno-Karabakh in St. Petersburg, mediated by Russia.

The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Ministry on Monday reported that skirmishes continued throughout the weekend with a spokesmen telling RFE/RL that since Sunday, Azeri forces violated the cease fire some 284 times.

Yerevan was quick to condemn the attacks describing them as “provocation” against Armenians and the peace process.

“Provocations are always inadmissible, however, this inhumane action was all the more unacceptable, since it occurred a few hours after the trilateral meeting held at Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s initiative,” Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian told reporters in Saint Petersburg.

“This incident is proof enough that the [OSCE] co-chair countries have a lot to think about,” said Sarkisian. “If unpunished, [Azerbaijan’s] bellicose statements and provocations can result in this kind or of consequences or even worse ones. I think such behavior was also disrespectful toward the Co-Chairs.”

Sarkisian also made clear that the firefight will have no impact on Yerevan’s position in the peace talks. “We are determined to and, I think, we will achieve [international] recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic,” he said in televised remarks. “This is our aim and I see no need to rethink it.”

Sarkisian also offered condolences to the families and friends of the four soldiers.

Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian echoed Sarkisian’s condemnations in a written statement. “Having barely left the negotiation room, the Azerbaijani leadership organized a sabotage action in Nagorno-Karabakh’s Martakert district on the night from June 18-19,” Nalbandian said.

“Evidently, it was a pre-planned and programmed operation,” Nalbandian charged. “It once again shows the real face of Baku, which is doing everything to kill the negotiating process.”

The Azeri Foreign Ministry rejected the accusation later in the day. A ministry spokesman, Elkhan Polukhov, told the Trend news agency that the deadly skirmish resulted from the “continuing occupation of Azerbaijani lands.” “Incidentally, this fact once again shows that the Armenian-Azerbaijani Karabakh conflict is not a frozen one, as the Armenian side would like to think,” Polukhov said.

Meanwhile on Monday, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Army announced the names of the servicemen killed in action. The victims were: junior sergeant Mnatsakan Gasparyan, soldiers Araik Barseghyan, Edward Manukyan and Paruyr Melkonyan.

Junior sergeant Garik Matevosyan, soldiers Galust Badasyan, Andranik Arzumanyan and Harutyun Mesropyan were wounded.

The OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairmen issued a lukewarm announcement the same day. While condemning the use of force, the co-chairs did not directly condemn Azerbaijan for initiating the attacks.

“The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Ambassadors Bernard Fassier of France, Robert Bradtke of the United States of America, and Igor Popov of the Russian Federation strongly condemn the use of force and regret the senseless loss of life. Such an incident is an unacceptable violation of the 1994 Ceasefire Agreement and is contrary to the stated commitment of the sides to refrain from the use of force or the threat of the use of force,” said the announcement.

“The incident took place immediately after the meeting between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, held in St. Petersburg on June 17 at the invitation of the President of the Russian Federation to pursue the negotiation of peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The use of military force, particularly at this moment, can only be seen as an attempt to damage the peace process,” the announcement added.

The Co-Chairs also called upon “the sides to exercise restraint on the terrain as well as in their public communications and prepare their population for peace and not for war.” The announcement reiterated “that there is no alternative to a peaceful negotiation solution of the conflict and that war is not an option.”

“Finally they also call upon the sides to cooperate fully with the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman in Office and do nothing that would impede his monitoring activities,” concluded the announcement.

The statement by the Minsk Group co-chairs was immediately criticized by the Armenian National Committee of America, the largest Armenian issues advocacy group in the United States.

“The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, in choosing to issue a generic condemnation of violence instead of a direct criticism of Azerbaijan’s most recent attack–as was clearly warranted by the facts of this case–gave Ilham Aliyev yet another free pass to keep moving toward the renewed war that he has long promised to start against Nagorno Karabakh,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

Aliyev earlier this month threatened to withdraw from foreign-backed peace talks after he accused Armenia of stalling the negotiations. Baku has repeatedly warned that it is prepared to restore Azerbaijani control over Karabakh by force. Meanwhile on Friday, Azerbaijan’s parliament approved a revised 2010 state budget boosting defense spending by a third, as it pursues an arms build-up that has seen it nearly double defense spending in the last two years.

The ANCA urged the OSCE “to forcefully condemn Baku’s belligerence and pressure its leaders to stop using force.” It also called on the U.S. government to “immediately cut off all military assistance to Azerbaijan.”

A senior European Union diplomat also expressed concern Monday over the cease-fire violations. In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian service, Peter Semneby, the EU’s special representative to the South Caucasus, described the weekend clash that left four Armenian and one Azerbaijani soldier dead as “a deplorable event that should not have taken place.” “It is not really acceptable that evens like this take place,” he said. “And in addition, we had an unnecessary tragic loss of human lives as well.”

“This incident demonstrates that there is a tense situation along the line of contact that can easily get out of hand and that it’s necessary to take whatever measures are available in order to lower tension and to build confidence. This is ultimately necessary also in order to come to a negotiated solution on the issue,” added the diplomat.

Semneby made the point that further progress in the Armenian-Azeri negotiations would help to create “the right kind of atmosphere” which he said is necessary for kick-starting and completing the Turkish-Armenian normalization process.

“There is no link between the Karabakh issue and the Turkish-Armenian normalization,” the envoy said. “Each process should be considered on its own merits. But one can not close one’s eyes to the fact that each of these processes has an impact on the general atmosphere and thereby an indirect impact on the other issue.”

The attacks came days after the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in St. Petersburg with their Russian president for talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  Russian President Demitry Medvedev’s office said late Thursday that Aliyev and Sarkisian narrowed their differences on the mediators “basic principles” of settling the conflict at Saint-Petersburg. Nalbandian also hinted at progress in the talks when he spoke to journalists in the Russian city.

Azerbaijan’s Polukhov commented more equivocally on the results of the Aliyev-Sarkisian talks on Friday. “We would like the Armenian side to realize the necessity of turning the quantity of meetings on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement into quality,” he told Trend.

Aliyev reportedly flew back to Baku early Friday shortly after his meeting with Sarkisian and Medvedev. Alieyv’s press service had announced earlier that the Azerbaijani leader will visit Saint-Petersburg to participate in an annual international economic conference held there.

Medvedev and Sarkisian jointly attended the opening session of the Kremlin-sponsored forum on Friday. They also attended an Armenia-related event at Saint Petersburg State University and held a brief meeting there the next day. Sarkisian commented on the Karabakh fighting afterward.


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  1. eddy said:

    The rigime in Baku is following self confident step by step in Saddams’s and al-Baschir ´s footsteps

    The regime in Baku has shortly past an aggressive and merely anti-Armenian military doctrine. Beside this the latest resolution of European parliament as well the irresponsible statements of EU officials and some Russian politicians condemning parliamentary election in NKR – ignoring the right of self-determination of people…- motivated the Saddam of Baku to go as far as to risk a new war…

  2. Arman said:

    Զոհերի քանակը հինգն է ոչ թէ չորսը: Երևում է որ հինգերորդը մահացել է հիվանդանոցում: Սա մտահոգիչ է շատ բայց իմ համար ավելի մտահոգիչ է Հայաստանի ապագան: Կարդալով ներքևում տեղադրված հոդվածը իմ հույստերը շատ հիչ են որ մենք կարող ենք պահպանել Հայաստան պետության գոյությունը: Ես չեմ կարողանում հասկանալ թէ ի՞նչ է մտածում ՀՅԴ-ն: Արդյո՞ք մենք դատապարտված ենք դանդաղ մահվան: Որ ճիշտն ասեմ արդեն հույս ել չունեմ որ կա մի կազմակերպություն որ կարող է Հայաստանը այս վիճակից հանել: Հայաստանի ՀՅԴ-ին, խորհրդարանական հայտարարություներից այնկողմ չի անցնում: Հայաստանը վտանգված է և եթէ ոչ մի կտրուկ փոփոխություն չանի ՀՅԴ-ն ապա կարելի է ասել որ Հայաստանը կործանված է: Ցավում եմ բայց սա արդեն իրականություն է:

  3. Areg Minasyan said:

    Long live independent Artsakh ( Nagorno-Karabagh). The heroic Armenian people will stop these BARBARIAN
    TURKS from invading our historic homeland. The Turk will always remain a turk- the same barbarian, the same thief, the same lier. The turks will always remain to be the blight on this earth. Shame on the civilized world for not knowing the true characters of this good for nothing barbarian turks…

  4. Grish Begian said:

    This bellicose horse will lose his presidency if he starts a full blown war with Artsakh forces…border wars with NK defense forces mark his dictatorial regime over his stupid tribal people..

    He learns something from his KGB father, how to control his Tatar population and spend oil money over his toy guns and corrupted military friends..those European officials, who are quiet and stay neutral, are well paid by his beloved wife Mehriban Aliyeva, where she acts as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, who spent undisclosed oil money as gift to those corrupted European clowns, in order to support Aliyev criminal policy toward Artsakh Armenians….

    Bellicose horse Aliyev, will never engage a full blown war with Armenians…he just having pain in the ass every time goes to a Moscow seminar..

  5. Ed said:

    An act of state terror which is being order by the Azerbaijani president!

    President Sarkisjan upon returning form his visit to Germany should visit the families of these four killed solders!! For these four martyred should be a ceremony in central of Stepanakert!

    This is more than a “Deadly Skirmishes“a couple weeks ago the criminal regime in Baku approved the most anti Armenian military doctrine. NKR and Armenia tried to act as if nothing happened – A WORING APPROCH. The authorities in Stepanaktert and Yerevan had to act and put the army in alarm without creating panic! Armenia and NKT should do more to protect the life of Armenian solders!!!! This is not acceptable they which our politicians are acting

  6. FrankM said:

    With all that oil money coming into their country they are feeling over confident.
    They don’t realize that what we have is something oil money cant buy.
    That is our will to survive

  7. Vacheh said:

    This should be another reminder lesson to President Sargsyan and his incompetent FM Nalbandian that:

    a)- Stop fiddling with the Armenian school system, trying to screw up the educational organization with the help of his stooges in the parliament. They better focus on the defense related issues.

    a)- It is useless to rely on international negotiators to secure the safety of the Armenians of Karabagh or Armenia itself. If we withdraw an inch from our current positions, we shall end with more of our people killed or wounded. What happened over the weekend is the continual outcome of the short-sighted ceasefire agreed by Levon Der-Petrosian, thus dumping a major military and political problems on the shoulders of our future generation. Der-Petrosian should have ordered our forces to march forward towards Gandzag (Kirovabad) to force Heydar Aliyev to sign the treaty of independence of Karabagh (and not a temporary ceasefire).

    As far as Elham Aliyev and his dog-like Defense Minister Abiyev are concerned, these people are a bunch of hard-headed idiots, who believe that by such military attempts we will cave in.

    Over 100-120 years ago we had a famous song which says:

    Verjabes menk oonenk kreev
    Zenkerov pidi makrenk hasheev
    Mer hayreniyats parkn oo badeev
    Serop Pashan siroghe togh ga.

  8. Dino Ajemian said:

    It is a sign of weakness not to retaliate. Some doves may say a response is what our barbarian enemy wants. In a cease fire situation in trench warfare it can not be left unpunished. There is no political or military upside to remain passive. War is inevitable, it is best to start it going with the tit for tat start up rather than a surprise attack from our barbarian enemy. If osce complains of our counterstrike then they should have taken concrete steps on stopping the rabid turkish dogs from breaking the cease fire. The enemy should know we would retailate, but to our choosing the time and place. It’s good for morale to counter strike. Not to do anything will only embolden the enemy.

  9. Paul said:

    LETS GET READY TO RUMBLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    MAY GOD BLESS ARMENIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Masis said:

    Another typical Turkic act: meeting for peace from one side and attacking on the other. How are we supposed to trust these guys. We need to once again, restore fear amongst these barbarians. I think Sarkisyan is putting up a stronger stance but more is needed. In order to get the Minsk group to get more involved, he ought to refrain from meeting with Aliyev until he demonstrates he won’t allow such attacks. Lets offer him two choices, not both: either to sit down at the table or go to war. Lets convince him that he’ll lose either way.

    I disagree that he’ll never to go war. Aliyev is one crazy spoiled brat who got his position because of nepotism and not because of merit. Such people lose in the long run but often create lots of chaos and problems. By nature, his upbringing fosters lack of responsibility and lack of principles. It would be easier to deal with his father, a person of greater gravity. Although his actions would be more damaging in the long run, he wouldn’t do anything crazy.

  11. Angela said:

    I think we tend to underestimate azeris and their leader and their ability to create serious problems for us. We can use diminishing words about them all day long, but by the end of the day, they are better equipped, have more money, have serious interest in NGO and are backed by serious forces. And no matter how much I hate Aliyev, I do not consider him stupid at all. Also, we should not underestimate how much propaganda is being conducted in Baku among the youth. When we call them stupid or barbarian, tatars or whatever else, which they are not by the way, we should listen how the universities students who are supposed to be educated, hate us and truely believe that it is their land. They have not forgotten their own losses, there ae plenty of widows and fatherless young people in Baku as a result of the war, they also suffered so they do not forget and do not forgive. And since they lost, they are not going to let it go unless someone seriously explains to them that it was not their land and that they died for someone elses motherland. But, as long as they are told otherwise, as long as the history is being re-written incorrectly, showing that almost all Armenia belonged to some country named Azerbaijan since God knows which century (that is what they are consistently taught, using false maps and information), we are always going to be at risk for a new war.

  12. zohrab said:

    just be united dont rely on no one but ourselves and when you hit them hit them harder than theiirs that way they will think twice before attacking again

  13. Norin Radd said:

    This may be the beginning of more incidents such as this as a means to test defensive outposts with single unit attacks.

  14. Samuel D said:

    Just few hours after president Serge Sarkisian negotiation with his azari counterpart,both armenian president & foriegn minster declared, they have a constructive negotiation with azari president & Atsakh
    armenians, tested that catastrophic constructive negotiation, by azary assult, It is incredible, how a
    president can lie & decieve his own people, & capable to provoke enemies.
    Another development comes up with this incident, Artsakh president & its army comander dident express
    there reaction, this one must concidered restiction imposed, by Armenias great leadership.

  15. A. Hovanessian said:

    The more you appease a bully the bolder he will get. The only way to deal with a bully is to hold your grounds and punch him in the mouth.

    Given the current situation and geographical location of Armenia sandwiched in between two hostile Turkish nations (one fake, the other built upon genocide) bent on destroying what is left of our ancestral homeland and others playing political games, it is time Armenia acquires nuclear weapons and point them towards Baku and Ankara.

  16. Axunik said:

    Shame on azerbaijan! azeri’s do not have the right to be amongst people. They belong with rats. Artsax will be part of Armenia. Azeri’s lost the war almot 20 years ago, and they will lose again if they continue behaving in such manner. This is unacceptable!


    azeri’s…..rot in hell. Thats where you belong.