On July 12, skirmishes broke out on the internationally-recognized borders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Tavush region after Azerbaijani soldiers attempted to attack the border post of the Armenian Armed Forces using artillery fire. The skirmishes intensified into the use of heavy weaponry and Azerbaijan’s subsequent shelling of the Armenian villages of Movses and Chinari.
After a 24-hour period of relative calm, the ceasefire was broken early this morning as Azerbaijani special forces attempted a diversion leading to further clashes and shelling of the villages of Aygepar, Chinari, Movses and Nerkin Karmiraghbyur and the city of Berd.
Below is a chronology of events starting from 3:40 a.m. on July 16.
Statement by the MFA of Armenia on threats of the Ministry of Defence of Azerbaijan to launch a missile strike at the Armenian Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant
Armenia’s MFA responded with the following statement to the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan’s announcement threatening to target the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant in Armenia:
The threats voiced by the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan to launch missile attacks at the Armenian Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant indicate the level of desperation and the crisis of mind of the political-military leadership of Azerbaijan.
The actions threatened by the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan are a flagrant violation of the International Humanitarian Law in general and the First Additional Protocol to Geneva Conventions in particular. Such threats are an explicit demonstration of state terrorism and genocidal intent of Azerbaijan.
Moreover, with such statements the leadership of Azerbaijan acts as a menace to all the peoples of the region, including its own people.
We strongly condemn the nuclear threats voiced by Azerbaijan, which demonstrate absolute absence of responsibility and sound judgement from this particular member of the international community.
Azerbaijan must publicly denounce such threats at once.
Live Press Briefing From Tavush [9 p.m.]
Presenting the situation on the border, Artsrun Hovhannisyan said Azerbaijani forces deployed combat drones on the town of Berd injuring a citizen and then striking the vehicle of first responders of the Ministry of Emergency Situations as they tried to provide help (as reported earlier, the first responders were not injured). There are no other injuries.
During the day, Armenian Armed Forces allowed the Azerbaijani side to retrieve the bodies of their killed and injured that were left on the battlefield the night before. [See below]. Hovhannisyan explained that photos of the bodies were released by Armenia’s MoD, however, there were other bodies left in other locations as well. Hovhannisyan said that the Azerbaijani media published false information claiming that those bodies were on Azerbaijani territory, creating what he termed a “comical contradiction.” If those bodies were in their territory, then why were they left there for so long or if the bodies were in their territory, how were they under our control and which required our consent for those bodies to be retrieved? You can all draw your own conclusions, Hovhannisyan said.
According to Hovhanissyan, during the day, Azerbaijani propaganda machine also offered another “masterpiece.” As a response to individual comments on Armenian social media suggesting Armenia strike targets of strategic importance in Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani MoD officially announced its readiness to strike Armenia’s nuclear power plant. Hovhannisyan said that there had been no such announcement by any Armenian official body to strike any civilian strategic or non-strategic targets in Azerbaijan. Moreover, Hovhanissyan said he had personally announced that not a single house in Azerbaijani villages has been targeted by the Armenian Armed Forces. The Armenian diplomatic corps and relevant bodies have already reported Azerbaijan’s announcement to the international community, because such an announcement is criminal in essence.
Regional Governor of Tavush Hayk Chobanyan said that from early morning, Azerbaijani military shelled the city of Berd and the villages of Tavush. Until the second half of the day, citizens effectively sheltered in their bunkers or basements but unfortunately, during the second half of the day, a 48-year-old resident of the village of Chinari was wounded following a combat drone strike. The resident is currently in stable condition. Because the Azerbaijani side used UAVs, it is fair to say that most of the border villages were targeted. Chobanyan noted that despite the fact that one citizen was wounded, the population mobilized quite effectively. Starting from today, municipal authorities also allocated more shelters for civilians and are now trying to ensure that the shelters are supplied with water, blankets, etc.. Up until now, the civilian population exclusively used their basements or makeshift shelters.
Chobanyan said that the commission that was formed by the decision of the Government, has already started accessing the damage caused to the properties of civilians. Since the outbreak of hostilities, 51 structures were damaged by the Azerbaijani side, including four infrastructures, four transportation, livestock and 41 buildings, 22 of which were destroyed today. Two of the buildings need to be rebuilt, while the remaining buildings can be repaired. Chobanyan said that from the damaged infrastructures, only two water lines remain to be fixed. The Governor condemned the use of force and threats against the civilian population.
– Public TV, Mushegh Isakhanyan: Is this the first time that Azerbaijan has threatened to strike the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant? Were there any other times or instances when similar statements were made?
Artsrun Hovhannisyan: I don’t recall if there was ever any official statement by Azerbaijan. I am very pleased that our diplomats and experts have already raised the issue with the international community. I can only add that anyone who makes such comments must be subjected to psychological testing.
– Azatutyun, Sarkis Harutuynyan: During your briefing earlier today, you said that as a result of military operations, approximately 10-20 Azerbaijani soldiers had been killed. Later, the Defense Ministry said they will allow the Azerbaijani side to retrieve the bodies of their soldiers. The Ministry released photos showing the bodies and it was communicated that bodies are in other locations. Have you been able to determine exactly how many Azerbaijani casualties there are?
Artsrun Hovhannisyan: At the moment, according to the photos we have at hand [and which were released], there are 10 Azerbaijani casualties. If we add this to other locations where there are bodies and those who were retrieved [as the units were retreating], including those who were wounded but later died, we can calculate that from a 100-soldier unit, there are anywhere from 25-40 casualties.
Follow-up Question: Were these soldiers part of their special operations units?
Artsrun Hovhannisyan: Yes, and their own media has confirmed that the Yashma Special Operations Brigade was deployed for the mission. This [Yashma] is an elite unit. And it’s very logical that in the preceding days, their 3rd Army Corps and border units were not able to fulfill their military responsibilities, and the elite unit was called in following their President’s “emphatic” speech.
– Sputnik Armenia, Davit Galstyan: Regarding drones, the ministry has said that the Armenian side has shot down 13 drones. Could you clarify how many we have shot down? How many of the UAVs used by the Azerbaijani side effectively hit their targets?
Artsrun Hovhannisyan: Combat drones are a problem everywhere and are being used extensively during military conflicts around the world. If we consider the number of drones that were used by Azerbaijan, how many actually hit their targets and how many were lost, I can say that the Armenian military registered unprecedented success. And if we also consider the fact that the Third Army Corps of Armenia’s Defense Army is primarily using Osa-AKM, which is not a very advanced model, then it is fair to say that the Armenian military registered excellent results.
Follow-up Question: What is the condition of the injured citizen?
Hayk Chobanyan: According to the latest updates, the patient is in stable condition and has been transferred to Yerevan. We hope that he will recover soon.
– Public Radio, Karen Ghazaryan: Mr. Chobanyan you said buildings were targeted, can you please be more specific about what kind of buildings?
Hayk Chobanyan: They were mainly family homes, there were also several public buildings like the Aygepar kindergarten and I would like to thank the Yerevan Municipality for taking on the reconstruction of the kindergarten.
– 168am, Oksana Hayrapetyan: Mr. Hovhannisyan please present what the situation has been like on the border during the day and if the Armenian Armed Forces continue to have control over the situation.
Artsrun Hovhannisyan: From 5 – 7:30 p.m., the shelling restarted after a relative calm earlier in the day. The situation at the moment is again relatively calm but the dynamics are such that they change rapidly and that is why we had warned that there might be an unscheduled briefing. We continue to keep the situation under full control. We continue to closely monitor any movement of the adversary be it on land or in air and are ready to counter any attack.
– Public TV, Mushegh Isakhanyan: Mr. Chobanyan, you said reconstruction will begin tomorrow but you also said there is still a threat of danger; does this mean the repairs might not start tomorrow as planned?
Hayk Chobanyan: Repairs will commence tomorrow as planned, unfortunately almost all the buildings are in places where there is a degree of danger, however, there are still some types of construction that can be carried out with minimal risk. In all cases, organizational work, or tasks like transporting construction material will commence tomorrow. I would also like to say that I have received dozens of calls and messages throughout the day from people and organizations offering to help with the construction.
– Sputnik Armenia, Davit Galstyan: I just received information that the Azerbaijani media is disseminating a video which they say is of an Amrenian army post being hit. Can you comment?
Artsrun Hovhannisyan: I have no such information at the moment. If it is true we will announce it outside of the briefing.
– Public TV, Mushegh Isakhanyan: Mr. Hovhannisyan could you provide updates regarding the situation on the Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact and Nakhijevan?
Artsrun Hovhannisyan: The situation in both of these directions remains stable and no significant changes were observed.
– Factor TV, Robert Ananyan: Because the military actions continued today, could you please provide updates regarding the number of soldiers that were wounded and whether the Azerbaijani military has changed the types of armaments used against the Armenian side?
Artsrun Hovhannisyan: The number of servicemen that were wounded has not changed. One remains in critical condition, while the remaining are in stable condition. Since July 12, Azerbaijan has been using the same type of weapons.
Fragile Ceasefire Broken by Azerbaijani Military Diversion Attempt
According to Ministry of Defense (MoD) Spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan, at approximately 3:40 a.m., border guards of Armenia’s Armed Forces noticed movements on the Azerbaijani side. Stepanyan said that Armenian military units, quickly moving into action, were able to prevent a diversion and infiltration attempt by the Azerbaijani military.
After a heated battle, Azerbaijani forces, suffering casualties, were forced to retreat. Stepanyan said that, at 5:20 a.m., Azerbaijani forces started shelling the villages of Aygepar and Movses using grenade launchers and D-30 howitzers: “This is the first violation of the fragile ceasefire that was established at 12:15 a.m.”
Regional Governor of Tavush Hayk Chobanyan wrote on Facebook urging residents of Tavush to demonstrate extreme caution and find shelter. “The enemy’s attempt at infiltration has been prevented. The Azerbaijani side was pushed back suffering losses,” he wrote.
Armenian Defense Minister Contacts Kasprzyk
At 8:15 a.m., Stepanyan wrote on Facebook that Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan has contacted the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk. Tonoyan presented the situation at the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border at 3:40 a.m. and noted that the Azerbaijani side had multiple wounded and killed.
“The Minister of Defense informed that encroachments by the Azerbaijani side on the borders of the Republic of Armenia are being defeated by all available forces.”
At 9:00 a.m., Stepanyan confirmed that the Armenian side did not suffer any new casualties.
At 9:40 a.m., Artsrun Hovhannisyan wrote that the fighting continues and that the Armenian Armed Forces are responding with return fire. Armenia has no casualties. By 10:00 a.m., Hovhannisyan wrote that the intensity of the fighting had abated. “Armenia has no casualties, but Azerbaijan certainly does,” he said.
At 10:05 a.m., MoD Spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan shared a video and wrote that Armenian forces have destroyed an Azerbaijani tank and Azerbaijnai firing positions of artillery and mortar batteries, from which civilian settlements and Armenian military positions were being shelled.
Prime Minister Pashinyan’s Remarks During Government Session
During the Government session, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinayn repeated updates on the latest overnight developments [see above].
An assessment of the damage caused by Azerbaijani shelling of the Armenian villages of Movses, Nerkin Karmiraghbyur, Aygebar and Chinari is underway, the Prime Minister said. Civilian infrastructure and residences were affected.
A minute of silence was held by the members of the cabinet to respect the four Armenian soldiers that had died from the fighting of the last few days.
Feliks Tsolakyan, the Minister of Emergency Situations, said that ministry representatives are working in all of the villages of Tavush region that came under Azerbaijani shelling to ensure the safety of the civilian population and prevent the risk of fire. The Minister noted that fire trucks are located in all of the villages and have been placed on high alert.
PM Pashiyan noted that media literacy among the population is gradually improving and that they are better equipped to identify disinformation. He went on to say that freedom of expression and democracy are core values for Armenia but it does not mean that the Government will disregard threats to the country’s national security.
According to MoD Spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan, the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan is spreading misinformation saying they have downed an X-55 UAV belonging to the Armenian Armed Forces. Stepanyan stated that the Armenian side has not lost any UAVs and that the image circulated by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry is fake.
Daily Press Briefing from Tavush
During a 1:00 p.m. briefing from the Crisis Information Center in Ijevan, Tavush, Artsrun Hovhannisyan presented the situation:
After an almost 24-hour ceasefire, Azerbaijani Armed Forces continued offensive operations. After midnight, about 100 Azerbaijani Special Operations units, using large-caliber artillery, attempted to attack our “Fearless” military post, situated on the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border. However, they were repressed by our soldiers and forced to retreat, leaving behind substantial losses, including military hardware. In the morning, the press office of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry acknowledged their losses. At the moment, there are no concrete numbers regarding casualties. After this, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces tried to seek revenge by shelling Armenian villages.
Azerbaijani media reported in the morning that an Armenia UAV has been downed; this information is officially refuted.
For several days now, war veterans, retired soldiers and also doctors have been gathering near military posts and municipal offices, expressing their readiness to go to the front line. We repeat that there is no need for any kind of mobilization, the Armed Forces are more than capable of handling the situation. However, later in the day, there will be an official announcement by the Defense Ministry regarding the issue.
The Regional Governor of Tavush, Hayk Chobanyan, said that Azerbaijan started shelling the border communities of Tavush region in the early morning and the main targets were the villages of Chinari, Movses, Aygepar, Tavush, Nerkin Karmiraghbyur and the city of Berd. The situation is currently relatively calm. Chobanyan noted that more than ten houses and some infrastructure were damaged, including a waterline and a kindergarten in the village of Aygepar, because of today’s Azerbaijani shelling. Everything is being done to ensure the security of the civilian population. Chobanyan noted that, because people were mostly sheltered in their basements during the shelling, there are no injured civilians in the affected communities. He thanked citizens for following the guidelines.
Chobanyan said that, after discussions with the Government, a commission will be created to evaluate the damage done to buildings because of shelling. The commission will provide daily information about the scale of damage caused to the properties of the civilian population. Repairs will begin tomorrow. Homes that have sustained significant damage will not be repaired, but will be rebuilt. Chobanyan assured that all those whose houses were damaged do not need to worry and that the Government will address the issue of their houses as soon as possible. He went on to say that it is imperative that citizens stay alert because the situation can change with little notice. Border communities are not in panic and the local municipal governments urged citizens to remain sheltered, if possible. The situation is stable and, due to the professionalism of the Armenian Armed Forces, border communities are not worried.
– Azatutyun, Sarkis Harutyunyan: Mr. Hovhannisyan, you had written earlier that the Azerbaijanis had considerable losses. Can you tell us what those losses are?
Artsrun Hovhannisyan: It is difficult to provide a clear estimate at the moment. From what we have observed, there could be 10-20 casualties but we can not be sure. We will wait for an official announcement by Azerbaijan and then estimate the situation as we already know the margins within which they might skew the truth. The Armenian side did not have any deaths or injuries as a result of the military actions that took place overnight. As of this morning, the situation with our injured has not changed. One soldier continues to remain in extremely critical condition; Armenia has 10 injured currently being treated in hospitals. Regarding military equipment, we have destroyed what seems to be a tank or some other kind of heavy artillery.
– Factor TV, Robert Ananyan: Taking into consideration that the Azerbaijani side has suffered serious losses, both human and material, and also perhaps territorial, what in your opinion is their strategy at the moment and how do you evaluate President Ilham Aliyev’s announcement following a massive rally in Baku in support of war? Yet as he himself admitted, only 150 people had volunteered.
Artsrun Hovhannisyan: Let me respond from a purely strategic perspective. It is difficult to understand what their strategy is; there is no such textbook strategy. You can draw your own conclusions as to what it means when only 150 people sign up to volunteer.
– Public TV, Mushegh Isakhanyan: Mr. Chobanyan, we are at the villages that were hit yesterday. There was more shelling at night. Do you have an estimate of how many homes are hit beyond repair and how many have sustained minor, repairable damage?
Hayk Chobanyan: Around 20 houses were hit yesterday. There are some that sustained damage which is easily repairable and some that it would be difficult to say at the moment whether they are beyond repair or not. Ten more were shelled overnight. So we have a total of 30 homes that have been hit. The initial estimate is that there are two homes which we will likely have to completely rebuild.
– Sputnik Armenia, Davit Galstyan: Mr. Hovhannisyan, could you clarify if there were only two diversion attempts by the Azerbaijani military?
Artsrun Hovhannisyan: I would not like to say that there were only two diversion attempts because sometimes mixed strategies are being carried out during the military operations. While shooting down UAVs, Armed Forces are simultaneously responding to Azerbaijan’s actions on land. Two of the diversion attempts that the Ministry reported were the ones with the largest scale (over 100 servicemen were involved). The scale of those two operations allows us to say that they were much stronger than the classical examples of a diversion attempt.
– Follow-up question: The Armenian side shot down over 13 Azerbaijani UAVs. Has the situation, in terms of air strikes, escalated or remained the same?
Artsrun Hovhannisyan: Compared to the first days, the intensity of the situation in terms of air strikes has decreased. During yesterday’s briefing, I said that the Armenian Armed Forces are closely following the movements of the Azerbaijani military and are ready to respond to any provocations on land as well as in the air. The results registered today in the morning are proof of our preparedness.
– Question: The government session discussed the issues of [disinformation and] the media. I would also like to know the stance of the Defense Ministry on what is happening in the media landscape.
Artsrun Hovhannisyan: I have not talked about what is happening in the information landscape from this podium because I believe we have more pressing issues to discuss here. Anything that is an internal issue can be internally discussed and corrected. Unfortunately, alongside professional and dedicated media outlets, there are also some that publish information that even the adversary has not confirmed. This could be from a lack of experience, simply the result of irresponsible work or even intentional. There are outlets that call the adversary attack a “counterattack/retaliations.” I ask that the media follow the internationally acknowledged guidelines of wartime reporting. There are these briefings, there will be additional briefings as well, possibilities for journalists to get as near to the border as possible and report for themselves. The Defense Ministry’s spokesperson, Shushan Stepanyan, is working very hard. It is possible that we might hold an unplanned briefing today. As you know, the situation is dynamic and, if the need arises, we will call unscheduled briefings, giving reporters at least half an hour notice to make it.
– Public TV, Mushegh Isakhanyan: Based on the experience of previous years, in what cases does the Azerbaijani Armed Forces resort to the help of special forces?
Artsrun Hovhannisyan: As a rule, special units are primarily deployed either because it is important to ensure the secrecy of operations or to register greater results, which ordinary military forces are unable to accomplish.
– PARA TV: Do we have information on whether the Azerbaijani artillery batteries are still placed near Azerbaijani settlements? What was the heaviest armament used during the recent operations?
Artsrun Hovhannisyan: Artillery and tanks were used during the operations early in the morning, which is what is usually used during similar attacks. I do not think Azerbaijan suddenly started respecting human rights or valuing its own citizens and I think that artilleries remain located near civilian populations because they can always use it as a justification for attack.
– Question: During the government briefing, they also talked about the fire trucks being unable to reach the fires. Are there any updates on the situation?
Hayk Chobanyan: All fires have already been extinguished and, yes, there were difficulties reaching the fires because the burning house in Aygepar was directly on the border. The servicemen of the Ministry of Emergency Situations started containing the fire until it was possible for the fire truck to reach them. Chobanyan said those villagers who can no longer stay in their homes have been offered other temporary dwellings. There will also be monetary assistance.
Retrieval of Injured and Killed Azerbaijani Soldiers
Armenia’s Defense Ministry Spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan announced that, if the Azerbaijani Armed Forces cease fire and establish favorable conditions, the Armenian side is prepared to allow the retrieval of killed and injured Azerbaijanis from the battlefield. Stepanyan later released images of the bodies of several Azerbaijani soldiers.
Fallen Soldier Laid to Rest at Yerablur
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan, His Holiness Catholicos Garegin II and other officials attended the funeral of Major Garush Hambardzumyan at the Yerablur National Cemetery. He was killed by Azerbaijani gunfire in Tavush region, at the Armenia-Azerbaijani border. Pashinyan expressed his condolences to Hambardzumyan’s family members and said that the four servicemen who died this week protected the homeland and each one of us.
Resident of Chinari Injured by Azerbaijani Combat Drone
At 4:00 p.m., the Armenian Unified Infocenter reported that, on July 16, Aramayis Hovakimyan, a 48-year-old resident of the village of Chinari in the Tavush region was wounded following a combat drone strike. According to the Ministry of Health, Hovakimyan has burns on 10% of his body and multiple fractures in his leg. His condition is serious but stable. The Ministry said that everything is being done to properly organize medical care in the region. Due to the situation, hospitals are being equipped with necessary supplies and additional medical staff.
At 4:30 p.m., Shushan Stepanyan, MoD Spokesperson, reported that Azerbaijan has violated the conditions of the ceasefire agreement and has utilized combat drones, including in the direction of civilian settlements. She warned that the death count of Azerbaijani soldiers from the morning’s operations may significantly increase.
Artsrun Hovhannisyan reported that a vehicle belonging to the Ministry of Emergency Situations was targeted and hit by an Azerbaijani combat drone. Hovhannisyan says there are no injuries, the details are being investigated.
Defense Ministry on Volunteers Wanting to Go to the Frontline
The Armenian MoD said in an official announcement that they have been receiving thousands of calls and letters from individuals, as well as from certain groups and organizations of war veterans asking to volunteer and go to the front line.
The Defense Ministry expressed its deep gratitude to the citizens for their readiness to stand in defense of Armenia’s borders but stated that there is no need for volunteer mobilization. The MoD said the Armed Forces continue to confidently fulfill all the tasks set before them. If the situation changes, they will make an official announcement at that time.
Azerbaijan Threatens to Target Armenia’s Nuclear Power Plant
According to several media reports, Colonel Vagif Dargahli, Azerbaijani Defense Ministry spokesperson said that their latest missile systems have the ability to hit Armenia’s Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant with accuracy, threatening that it “could lead to a major disaster for Armenia.”
Dargahli said that their modern air defense equipment is in place to protect the Mingachevir Reservoir, which he claimed was a potential target for Armenian forces. According to Armenpress, Armenia has never targeted civilian objects nor has it ever claimed that the reservoir was a target.
Statements [July 16]
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister
Andrey Rudenko, the Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, told the TASS Agency that Russia will do everything possible to resolve the current escalation between Armenia and Azerbaijan. He noted that the balanced position of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs is especially important and that for the settlement of the Karabakh conflict the Minsk Group unites more states than just the three Co-Chairs. Rudenko said that countries that have borders with the region should show maximum balance, responsibility and restraint, including in their public rhetoric.
Statement of the Foreign Ministry of Armenia on the Resumption of Azerbaijani Military Operations in Tavush
Following an escalation of tensions in the early morning hours of July 16 because of an incursion attempt by Azerbaijani military forces on the international border, Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the following statement:
“On July 16, early in the morning, the combat groups of the armed forces of Azerbaijan resumed military operations on the state border of the Republic of Armenia in the vicinity of Aygepar and Movses villages with the use of mortars and heavy artillery.
“Having received a proportionate response from the Armed Forces of Armenia, the forces of Azerbaijan were repelled with losses. With no gain in the battlefield, the Azerbaijani military units began shelling the villages of Movses and Aygepar deliberately targeting the civilian infrastructures and the population.
“It should be stressed that this aggression came as a treacherous violation of an arrangement on cessation of hostilities reached earlier and following the July 15 statement by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs on the establishment of relative calm on the border.
“As a result of its short-sighted policy, the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan is at an impasse and now is resorting to perilous, ill-conceived steps for which it will bear responsibility also before its own people.
“The Foreign Minister is in constant contact with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship. In the present situation the efforts aimed at unconditional, complete restoration, preservation and strengthening of the ceasefire are imperative.”
Turkish Foreign Ministry Statement
The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement in response to the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia on July 15, 2020
“We observe that Armenia now tries to resort to a hypocritical smear campaign against Turkey in an effort to cover up its aggressive actions against Azerbaijan.
“This two-faced attitude of Armenia, which has been illegally occupying Azerbaijani territory for many years, clearly reveals who is the real obstacle to the establishment of lasting peace and stability in the South Caucasus.
“Conducting foreign policy with such out of context accusations and slanders will benefit neither the region nor Armenia.
“This approach is the manifestation of a mentality which constructs its identity by solely deriving enmity based on a one-sided interpretation of history and which tries to legitimize its own aggression in contravention of international law. This defective mentality that fuels aggressive nationalism is deplorable, but not surprising for us.
“Armenian authorities need to come to their senses and comprehend, as soon as possible, that they should be part of the solutions, not problems, in the South Caucasus.”
Tweet by U.S. State Department
The U.S. State Department tweeted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement regarding the situation on the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border: “In the Caucasus region, the United States is deeply concerned about the recent deadly violence along the Armenia-Azerbaijan international border. We offer our condolences to all of the victims. We urge the sides to de-escalate immediately and re-establish a meaningful dialogue and a ceasefire to resume substantive negotiations with the Minsk Group as co-chairs.”