- Attacks Continued into Saturday
- Russian Defense Minister Acknowledges Ceasefire Violation
- Aliyev Threatens to Break Armenia’s “head with an iron fist.”
Artsakh Defense Army said three of its soldiers were wounded when Azerbaijani forces launched an attack late Friday.
At around 8:40 local time on Friday Azerbaijan launched an attack on military posts in southern part of the Artsakh, according to the Artsakh Army. The three soldiers who were injured sustained gunshot wounds of “varying degrees,” added the Army.
The Artsakh Defense Ministry reported that Azerbaijan continued its offensive in the Old Tagher and Khtsabert village of Hadrut, which are under Armenian control, on Saturday.
The Azerbaijani attack on Friday was the first breach of an agreement signed on November 9 that stoped military actions in Karabakh.
Azerbaijan is using heavy weapons to attack Armenian targets, with the aim of seizing the Khtsabert village. Azerbaijan warned the Russian peacekeeping forces on Friday to clear out of the area to avoid casualties, according to sources on the ground. In fact, Azerbaijani protested demanding the removal of Russian peacekeepers from the region.
Azerbaijani media, in their usual effort to spread misinformation, claimed that Armenian forces launched the attack in Hadrut, alleging that one Azerbaijani soldier was killed. Artsakh Armed Forces deny this information.
Russian peacekeepers deployed to the region confirmed the firefight around Hadrut, but did not “assign blame,” according to the Associated Press.
Through his spokesperson Mane Gevorgyan, Prim Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that Azerbaijan’s attacks “should receive a response firstly from the Russian peacekeepers.”
“The leadership of the peacekeeping forces are fully aware of the ongoing developments launched since early morning,” Gevorgyan said.
In response, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev blamed Armenia for the new clashes and threatened to “break its head with an iron fist.”
“Armenia shouldn’t try to start it all over again,” Aliyev said during a meeting with with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs on Saturday. ”It [Armenia] must be very cautious and not plan any military action. This time, we will fully destroy them. It mustn’t be a secret to anyone,” he said.
Artsakh presidential advisor Davit Babayan called the Azerbaijani attack “a provocation against Russia.”
“These actions are directed both against Artsakh and Russia. The possibility of such provocations is not ruled out in the future as well, but I think that the response will always be tough, including also by the peacekeepers. We need to clarify the circumstances of the incident,” Babayan told Armenpress Saturday.