June 14, 2024

Balkan Travellers

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Heavy bombing of Armenia and Azerbaijan during the night from Monday to Tuesday

Heavy bombing of Armenia and Azerbaijan during the night from Monday to Tuesday

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke by phone with the Russian and French presidents last night and appealed to the UN to end the occupation of Baku.

A night full of worry and fear. This is what the three million people of the Republic of Armenia experienced, with many border towns and villages subjected to heavy shelling last night by the Azerbaijani army. At 12:05 a.m. (10:05 p.m. French time), residents of Jermuk, Vardenis and Goris heard several explosions: artillery fire from the border area. “We heard a great noise above our heads, A resident of the city of Koris tells us (25,000 people, including hundreds of refugees from the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh, three-quarters of which were captured by the Azeris in 2020). Drones were spotted near Lake Van in the Kekarkunik region of Armenia’s northeast: the popular Turkish fighter TB-2, successfully used by the Ukrainian army against Russian invaders. In the south of the country, in Kaban, gunfire was heard since one in the morning. But in Martouni, Artanish and Sotk near Lac Noir. According to the Armenian Ministry of Defense, the attacks killed and injured several people, although an exact toll has not yet been established.

Warning signs

Two hours after the attack, the Armenian government met in the capital, Yerevan, and spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken under the authority of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Bakunin regretted the aggression, and to some, justified it “unacceptable”. Armenian Security Council UN and also appealed to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a regional organization led by Russia whose members, all former Soviet republics (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan), guarantee territorial sovereignty. . In vain: Fighting continued on the border overnight and continued into the early hours of this morning, despite an attempt by Russia to alert the 102nd military base established in Kyumri in the north of Armenia.

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Many observers, who had observed the warning signs for a week, had issued an immediate warning of a major military offensive in Baku. Turkish cargo planes landed in Azerbaijan 48 hours ago with weapons. Sporadic gunfire has been heard around some Armenian villages since early September. Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov issued a threatening statement on September 10, accusing his neighbor of armed provocations and calling on his troops to be ready to retaliate against them. The same rhetoric was used two years earlier to justify aggression against Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh, provoking the “44-day war” that claimed the lives of more than 3,000 young Armenians.

Despite discussions about the peace agreement initiated under the European Union and Baku’s apparent efforts to stabilize the situation (the days of the release of five Armenian prisoners of war who had been imprisoned for almost two years), autocratic President Ilham Aliyev remained in power for almost twenty years. , recently expressed his impatience to establish a corridor between Nakidchevan and the rest of his territory, the Azeri exclave in the west of Armenia. This summer, following a surprise military operation, he forced Artsakh officials to abandon the Lachine Corridor linking their capital, Stepanakert, with Armenia. Did he have the same thought when he set off the blast that night? Is the attack aimed solely at pressuring the Armenian prime minister to speed up the expected deal, or is it, as some fear, a wider offensive plan? “Armenia” and western Zangesur (Azeri name given to Armenian Syunik)? Was the weakening of the Russian military in Ukraine seen as an opportunity for the master of Baku, who was intoxicated after the victory in November 2020? Among the key questions Armenians were asking themselves on September 13 were: Will the bombings of civilian targets stop?

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