NOTE: At the time of this article’s publication, the Armenian Weekly could not authenticate the letter in question, as was stated in the article. We have since received information indicating the letter is likely a fabrication. Washington-based writer Emil Sanamyan, whose writing focuses on the Caucasus and neighboring states, told the Armenian Weekly that the letter was likely a response to a fabricated document published by Azerbaijani sources recently. According to him, there are clear indications that the “leaked” document is not authentic, including the misspelling of the word “General” in Azerbaijani.
Document Indicates 558 Azerbaijani Soldiers Were Killed and 1,293 Were Wounded April 2-6, 2016
YEREVAN (A.W.)—An image of an ostensibly leaked letter on Azerbaijani Defense Ministry letterhead indicating that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces suffered 558 deaths and 1,293 wounded during the April 2-6, 2016 April War with Armenian troops has been published online.
The image of the letter was made public on Aug. 17 by Armenian political scientist Hrant Melik-Shahnazaryan on the website Russian-Armenian bilingual website voskanapat.info. It is unclear how Melik-Shahnazaryan came to have access to the document.
The letter, addressed to Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov and apparently penned by Chief of General Staff of Azerbaijani Armed Forces and Deputy Minister of Defense Najmaddin Sadigov on April 28, 2016, indicates that 205 out of the killed soldiers were servicemen of the Special Forces of the Defense Ministry, 98 of whom were killed during military operations in Talish-Aghdara (Martakert), in the northeast of Artsakh; 32 in Fuzuli-Jabrayil, in the south; and 75 during military operations in areas in between.
In the letter, Sadikhov makes several suggestions to “eliminate the negative criticisms of the Azerbaijani society toward the armed forces” and to keep the morale and psychological spirit of the army staff high, including not transferring all the bodies of the deceased soldiers at once, and carrying out funerals of some of the soldiers at night.
Below is the English translation of the letter, as published by Yerevan-based Armenpress. The Armenian Weekly has no other information regarding the authenticity of the letter.
To the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Colonel-General Z. Hasanov
Dear Mr. Minister,
I report to you that the total losses of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces’ staff in the period from April 2 to 6 of 2016 were 558 killed and 1293 wounded soldiers. Fifty-eight of the wounded soldiers are in critical condition. Fifty-two out of 558 killed soldiers cannot be identified.
Two hundred and five out of the killed soldiers are servicemen of the special-purpose forces of the defense ministry. Ninety-eight of them have been killed during military operations in Talish-Aghdara (Martakert), 32 in Fuzuli-Jabrayil, and 75 have been killed during the military operations conducted at central directions.
In order to eliminate the negative criticisms of the Azerbaijani society toward the armed forces, the further fall of the morale and psychological spirit of the army staff and the panic of the staff, I propose:
- Not to conduct the transfer of the bodies of killed soldiers of the Azerbaijani armed forces at the same time (about 60 per week);
- To carry out the funerals of some of the killed soldiers during the night hours under supervision in agreement with their parents;
- To allocate 5000 manats (approx.. $2,950 USD) from the Defense Ministry’s fund to families of the victims.
Chief of General Staff of Azerbaijani Armed Forces and Deputy Minister of Defense Najmaddin Sadigov