STEPANAKERT, NKR (A.W.)—Armenian serviceman Marat Danielyan (b. 1984) was killed in an Azerbaijani attack on the northern direction (Talish) of the Line of Contact (LoC) at around 6:30 a.m. on April 21, according to a press statement released by the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR/Artsakh) Ministry of Defense (MoD). The ministry did not release additional details, but announced that the incident is currently under investigation. The ministry also announced that Azerbaijani forces were fully responsible for the latest escalation of violence on the LoC.
In a separate press release, the MoD announced that Azerbaijani forces had violated the ceasefire agreement at least 70 times, firing various caliber weapons on Armenian positions along the LoC—in the southeastern (Hadrut), eastern (Akna), and northeastern (Martakerd) directions—on the night of April 20-21. During this time, Azerbaijani forces fired at least 2 60-mm mortars and 2 shells from an AGS-17 grenade launcher.
The same day the attack claimed Danielyan’s life, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov began a two-day visit to Yerevan, in what some speculate will be Moscow’s attempt to work with the “Kazan document.” In early April, Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan responded to an announcement made by Lavrov in Baku, which referred to “existing agreements on the table”: “The document of Kazan introduced to the sides in 2011 is on the negotiation table. Azerbaijan denies accepting it irrespective of the fact that it had been agreed with Baku in advance. We have talked about it many times. During the Kazan meeting Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev had submitted 10 new proposals and, in fact, wrecked the principles of the settlement,” Balayan told ArmenPress on April 7.
The Kazan plan is based on the so-called Madrid proposals of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group and implies an Armenian withdrawal from several districts outside Nagorno-Karabagh proper, the introduction of peacekeepers, and a referendum on the region’s status, reported ArmeniaNow.
At a press conference on the morning of April 21, Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan said that Lavrov’s visit is to discuss a wide range of issues regarding Armenia-Russia relations. “Naturally, after the recent Azeri aggression, the NKR settlement issue cannot be avoided during the discussion,” Kocharyan reportedly said. In response to a question that a special document has been prepared to discuss the NKR negotiations, Kocharyan said that there is no such document, reported ArmenPress.
Two days earlier, at around 9:50 a.m. on April 19, Armenian serviceman Gevorg Gevorgyan (b. 1996) was killed by Azerbaijani fire on the southern direction of the LoC, according to a press statement released by the NKR MoD. The statement also noted that the NKR Defense Army remains resolute in monitoring the LoC.
Armenian MFA Condemns Azerbaijan
In a statement released on April 22, Armenia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said it strongly condemns Azerbaijan’s attempts to cast doubt on the trilateral ceasefire agreement signed by Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabagh, and Armenia in 1994, and reiterated that the agreement does not have time limitations.
“It is a dangerous step which threatens with further destabilization of the situation in the region. The aggressive military actions launched by Azerbaijan at the beginning of April could not result in the cessation of the 1994 agreement, rather they raise the liability of the party which violated it,” read a part of the statement.
Commenting about the negotiations on NKR under the auspices of the OSCE, the ministry said that “Azerbaijan strives to portray the negotiations as a kind of a process that discusses solely those issues which fit Baku’s interests.” The statement concluded by saying that decisive steps are necessary to “bring Azerbaijan to order and into a constructive mood.”
The ceasefire agreement of 1994 has been used by Baku as a breathing space to
re-group, re-arm and re-try their failed invasion of NKR. With the new arms, technology and training they have been buying from the world with their petro dollars they feel they stand a better chance now of re-taking what is not theirs. The only decisive way to bring “Azerbaijan to order and into a constructive mood” is by inflicting massive damage on their military capability every time they break the fragile peace. Unfortunately, this ia the only language that this Azeri regime understands. While they have this new war machinery they belive their war of attrition will eventually bring them victory, taking into account their much bigger population, much larger budget and the indifference of the world in general plus greed of some countries for arm sales. We must destroy their war machines decisively.