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Azerbaijan launches 'anti-terrorist operation' in Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijan launches 'anti-terrorist operation' in Nagorno-Karabakh Illustrative photo (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Azerbaijan has announced the launch of "local anti-terrorist measures" in Nagorno-Karabakh after Armenia accused it of "organizing a terrorist attack and the death of the military," according to the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan.

The official statement claims that the armed forces of Armenia have been systematically shelling the positions of the Azerbaijani army in the Karabakh region, continuing to mine territories, carrying out engineering works to enhance their military positions, and increasing the number of trenches and bunkers over the past months.

On September 19, there were reports of civilians killed in a mine explosion on the Ahmedbeyli-Fizuli-Shusha road, which also resulted in damage to a vehicle belonging to the State Road Agency of Azerbaijan.

On the same day, military personnel were killed and wounded due to the explosion of a vehicle transporting Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

In response to these events, Azerbaijan has initiated "local counter-terrorism measures" in Nagorno-Karabakh. These actions are reportedly aimed at stopping large-scale provocations, disarming and withdrawing the armed forces of Armenia, neutralizing their military infrastructure, ensuring the safety of the civilian population, civil servants engaged in construction and reconstruction work, as well as military personnel, and restoring Azerbaijan's constitutional order.

As part of these measures involving precision weaponry, the positions of Armenia's armed forces on the frontlines and deep within are being disabled, including their long-range firing points, combat assets, and military facilities.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan has also announced the closure of airspace over Armenia.

The Ministry of Defense emphasizes that the civilian population and civil infrastructure are not targets; only legitimate military objectives are being disabled.

In addition, Azerbaijani media outlets have published footage of the destruction of Armenia's anti-aircraft missile systems.

Social media also reports of a disruption in mobile communication in the Karabakh region, while artillery fire is being reported in Stepanakert (the capital of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic).

Armenia's response

The Ministry of Defense of Armenia has already responded to Azerbaijan's claims of "anti-terrorism measures."

They said that as of 14:00 (13:00 Kyiv time), the situation on the borders of the Republic of Armenia was "relatively stable."

Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh

The war over Karabakh has been ongoing for over 30 years. At the dissolution of the USSR, this territory, within the Azerbaijan SSR, was predominantly inhabited by Armenians. In 1991, with the support of Armenia, the region declared "independence" and named itself the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

Since then, there were periodic military conflicts.

At the end of April, Armenia and Azerbaijan held a new round of negotiations in Washington. In mid-May, the parties agreed to resume negotiations on border demarcation and the normalization of relations between the countries.

In May, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan expressed readiness to recognize an area of 86,600 square kilometers, including Nagorno-Karabakh, as Azerbaijani territory.

However, on September 1, gunfire erupted again near the shared border of Armenia and Azerbaijan, resulting in the deaths of three soldiers.