Azerbaijan’s defense ministry said it carried out “revenge” attacks on Armenian forces on August 3 in response to an attack that killed one soldier and an attempt to seize control of a hill in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.
The Azeri ministry accused Armenia of “grossly” violating the terms of a ceasefire agreement signed in November 2020, and said the attacks occurred in an area where a Russian peacekeeping contingent had been deployed. Azerbaijan’s “retaliatory operation” involved the destruction of “several combat positions of illegal Armenian armed detachments” and an airstrike on a military unit stationed in the village of Yukhary Oratagh, the ministry said.
This aerial footage released by the defense ministry shows a military vehicle exploding at a facility just north of the village. Azerbaijan said the strike killed and wounded several members of Armenia’s forces, and destroyed “several D-30 howitzers, military vehicles and a large amount of ammunition.” It warned that “any terror and provocation” would be met with “crushing” countermeasures.
Armenia’s foreign ministry rejected the allegations and said Azerbaijani forces had “launched aggression in the area of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping contingent,” killing or wounding several people. The ministry accused Azerbaijan of deliberately and continuously “terrorizing the population of Nagorno-Karabakh” as part of a campaign of “ethnic cleansing and creeping occupation.”
It further accused Azerbaijan of trying to unilaterally change the terms of the ceasefire with regard to the Lachin corridor, a mountain road that connects Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, which is currently in the Russian contingent’s area of responsibility.
Both the European Union and the Polish chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Zbigniew Rau, urged both sides to de-escalate, resume talks, and work toward peace in the region.
While the Nagorno-Karabakh region is internationally recognized as Azeri territory, it has an ethnically Armenian population and, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, has been largely controlled by the unrecognized breakaway Republic of Arksakh, which is backed by Armenia. Renewed conflict over the territory broke out in 2020 and ended with a ceasefire agreement in November of that year.
The Armenian government says the region is “an integral part of historic Armenia” and that any resolution to the conflict “must be based on recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh people’s right to self-determination.” Credit: Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense via Storyful