STEPANAKERT–“In violation of all the norms of international humanitarian law, Baku does not refuse to use its civilian population as human shields for shelling the territory of Artsakh,” the Artsakh Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday. The full text of the statement is provided below:
On the evening of July 4, 2017, the Azerbaijani side committed yet another provocation, firing at the territory of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh Republic). For the first time since the April aggression in 2016, the armed forces of Azerbaijan employed a TR-107 multiple rocket launcher system. The fire was launched from the positions located in close proximity to residential buildings in Alkhanlu village․
The Defense Army of Artsakh was forced to take counter-measures to suppress the fire activity of the Azerbaijani army. The incident provoked by the Azerbaijani side, unfortunately, led to casualties among the villagers.
Since the April aggression we have repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that the Azerbaijani side, in violation of all the norms of international humanitarian law, keeps using its civilian population as a human shield for shelling the territory of Artsakh.
The peaceful population on both sides of the border has long become a hostage to the Azerbaijani authorities’ policy of constant escalation of tensions on the Line of Contact between the armed forces of Artsakh and Azerbaijan and sabotaging the efforts of the mediators to restore the negotiation process.
The incident once again confirms the importance of the agreements reached at the summits of May 16, 2016 in Vienna and of June 20, 2016 in St. Petersburg, aimed at the stabilization of the situation on the Line of Contact. The immediate implementation of these agreements, torpedoed by Azerbaijan, will allow to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future.