- Is Azerbaijan trying to engage Iran? Renewed attacks hit close to Iran on Arax River
- Baku rejects Red Cross mediation for return of bodies and captives
Armenia and Azerbaijan announced on Saturday that their governments had agreed to cease fire at midnight on Sunday local time. However, minutes after midnight, Azerbaijan continued its attacks on Artsakh, shelling civilian targets in the north and firing missiles in the south of the Artsakh-Azerbaijan border. Baku has also rejected mediations efforts by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is tasked with administering the return of bodies and captives.
Armenia’s Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan reported that from 12:04 to 2:45 a.m. local time Azerbaijani forces continued firing at Artsakh positions in the north. From 2:20 to 2:45 missiles were fired in Artsakh’s south.
Azerbaijan attacked Artsakh in the early Sunday morning from the southern direction near Iran’s Khoda Afarin Dam, with the purpose of capturing favorable positions. The attack is the latest Azeri violation of the already second humanitarian truce.
“The Azerbaijani Armed Forces have once again grossly violated the new humanitarian ceasefire. At 07:20 a.m. after active artillery fire, the enemy launched an attack in the southern direction (Khudaferin Reservoir) in order to occupy favorable positions. There are casualties and wounded on both sides,” Stepanyan said.
“Video surveillance devices of the Artsakh Defense Army recorded the exact location and time of how the enemy launched an offensive in the direction of the Armenian positions in the early morning hours of October 18, violating the agreement for ceasefire,” Stepanyan, Armenia’s Defense Ministry spokesperson said.
Stepanyan also reported that Artsakh forces have destroyed four Azerbaijani tanks and two drones.
Armenia’s foreign ministry said Baku’s rejection of ICRC mediation “attests to the fact that the Aliyev clan, which has turned itself into an instrument of Turkish expansionism in the region, is concerned only about holding its grip on power and while being terrified of the inevitable perspective of being accountable before its own people for unleashing a war and for the numerous lives it has claimed, tries to postpone the unavoidable moment of truth.”
David Babayan, an advisor to the Artsakh president warned that by targeting the Khoda Afarin dam, the Azerbaijanis were attempting directly engage Iran into the Karabakh conflict.
“Overall, the ceasefire is being enforced in some sections, but in other areas the enemy continues its anti-Armenian policy and is trying to penetrate the defensive positions of the Artsakh Defense Army. At the moment attempts to infiltrate several sections of the frontline continue, but they are being repelled. For us the most important is to avoid losses. Heavy clashes are underway in some sections, especially in the southern direction,” Babayan explained.
The president’s advisor refuted Azerbaijani claims that the ceasefire would be in effect for “several days,” saying that there was no set end to the truce, adding that the Azerbaijani statements indicate that the enemy intends to launch attacks in several days.
The Artsakh military has released a video recorded by its surveillance devices that shows the exact time and location where the Azerbaijani armed forces launched the latest attack in Sunday morning.
“These irresponsible and destructive actions of the Azerbaijani side indicate that both Azerbaijan and Turkey are unable and unwilling to fulfill either their obligations under international conventions, or the agreements on humanitarian truce reached with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries. Once again, Azerbaijan and Turkey have demonstrated that they continue to consider agreements on humanitarian truce, and negotiations in general, exclusively in the context of a military solution of the conflict,” said a statement from the Artsakh Foreign Ministry on Sunday.
“International recognition of the Republic of Artsakh is the only way to stop the duplicitous behavior of Azerbaijan and Turkey that undermines the efforts and authority of international mediators. The recognition of the independence of the Republic of Artsakh will put an end to attempts of resolving the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict by force and will give the necessary impetus for the effective continuation of international mediation efforts within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship,” added the foreign ministry.