Azerbaijan has declared the commencement of a military "operation" in historically and ethnically Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh to "disarm" the Defense Army of Artsakh.
The capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, is currently under artillery bombardment by the Azerbaijani military. Preliminary reports indicate that shelling is also occurring near the village of Shosh and in the Askeran district.
According to the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence, the Russian peacekeeping contingent command and the Turkish-Russian Monitoring Center leadership were duly informed about their plan to launch an attack against the indigenous Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.
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BREAKING: Azerbaijan has declared the commencement of a military "operation" in historically and ethnically Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh to "disarm" the Defense Army of Artsakh.
The capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, is currently under artillery bombardment by the… pic.twitter.com/LnGmkMt7ep
— Paul Antonopoulos 🇬🇷🇨🇾 (@oulosP) September 19, 2023
It is recalled that Armenia's prime minister said on Sunday that his country and neighbouring Azerbaijan could reach a peace deal over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region by the end of this year.
Nikol Pashinyan was quoted as saying he is doing everything he can to conclude an agreement.
Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh have suffered food shortages after Azerbaijan imposed a blockade on the territory for the past nine months to scupper what it claims was arms smuggling, but in actual fact was to starve the indigenous population.
The former Soviet republics have fought two wars in the past 30 or so years over the region, which is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but run by ethnic Armenian authorities. The first conflict erupted as the Soviet Union crumbled, with the fighting lasting from 1988 to 1994. The clashes between Azerbaijani troops and Armenians ended when a truce was brokered by Russia.
The second war, which killed at least 6,500 people, began in late September 2020 after Azerbaijan launched its aggression, and lasted for six weeks, after decades of intermittent skirmishes.
Azerbaijan, helped by drones bought from Turkey and Israel, carried out a military operation, quickly breaking through Armenian defences and taking back the seven districts and about a third of Karabakh itself, ethnically cleansing these territories from their Armenian population.