Armenian Defense Ministry: Consequences Will Fall on the Shoulders of Azerbaijani Military Leadership
On Sept. 24, 83-year-old Parakavar resident Baydzar Aghajanyan and Berdavan residents Shushan Asatryan, 94, and Sona Revezyan, 41, were killed by Azerbaijani artillery fire that targeted the Armenian border villages in Armenia’s Tavush province. Two male residents of Berdavan were also wounded in an attack on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, according to Paravakar Mayor Roland Margaryan speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service Azatutyun.am.
“The Republic of Armenia urges the Azerbaijani civilian population on the border areas to refrain from becoming a human shield for the military of Azerbaijan,” read a statement released by the Armenian Ministry of Defense, which stressed that “Armenian military forces will take necessary measures to stabilize the situation, the consequences of which will be on the shoulders of Azerbaijani military leadership.”
“The leadership of Azerbaijan disregards all the peace initiatives regarding the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict resolution,” read the press statement, which confirmed that there were civilian casualties, and that the Armenian villages on the border have been under heavy artillery shelling by Azerbaijani gunfire.
“The Armenian Ministry of Defense declares that the evolving situation is a result of the sly policies of Azerbaijani political-military leadership and is clearly in breach of the peace initiatives of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, James Warlick, the U.S. co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group, said that the OSCE co-chairs were in touch with officials in Armenia and Azerbaijan about “renewed violence,” and had urged an end to attacks and reprisals, in a tweet.
Azerbaijani attacks on border villages have intensified in recent weeks. In early September, Azerbaijani forces launched long-range rocket attacks on several border villages in Armenia’s Tavush province. As a result, two residents of Koti—one of about 20 villages that were attacked in the area—were wounded and hospitalized; the 43-year-old woman and her 23-year-old son were rushed to a Noyemberyan hospital.
In early September, two Armenian servicemen were killed during attacks on Armenian positions by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, reported the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR/Artsakh) Ministry of Defense. Marat Khachanyan and Arman Stepanyan of the NKR Defense Army were killed during a raid by the Azerbaijani Army.
A day earlier, an Armenian serviceman was killed and two were injured as a result of heavy caliber fire from Azerbaijani positions near border villages in northeastern Armenia, reported the press office of the Ministry of Defense of Armenia on Sept. 3. The attack took place one day following celebrations of the 24th anniversary of the independence of the NKR. Armenian contract serviceman Hayk Karleni Devoyan suffered a fatal shot to the neck during the Azerbaijani offensive. He was 40 years old and had been serving in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia since 2010.
Royce and Engel Work to Secure Bipartisan Support for Karabagh Peace-Keeping
This week, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) launched an Action Alert asking community members to urge their Representatives in Congress to sign a letter drafted by Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, and join a bipartisan call for renewed U.S. leadership in keeping the peace along the Nagorno-Karabagh Line of Contact.
The two senior legislators are currently collecting congressional signatures on a letter addressed to Ambassador James Warlick, the U.S. representative to the OSCE Minsk Group tasked with reaching a resolution on Nagorno-Karabagh-related security and status issues. In their letter, they specifically call for the U.S. and OSCE to abandon their failed policy of false parity in responding to acts of aggression.
The ANCA Royce-Engel action alert is available at http://www.anca.org/nkpeace.