Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke on the phone last night with the Russian and French presidents, and appealed to the UN to put an end to the aggression in Baku.
A night of anguish and fear. This is what the three million inhabitants of the Republic of Armenia experienced, several border towns and villages of which suffered intensive bombardments last night from 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 also heard like big buzzing noises above our heads, tells us a resident of the city of Goris (25,000 inhabitants including hundreds of refugees from the self-proclaimed republic of Artsakh, three-quarters conquered by the Azeris in 2020). In the region of Gegharkunik, in the northeast of Armenia, drones have also been spotted near Lake Van: the famous Turkish Bayraktar TB-2, used successfully by the Ukrainian army against the Russian invaders. In the south of the country, in Kapan, shots were heard from one o’clock in the morning. But also in Martouni, near Lac Noir, in Artanish and in Sotk. According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, the attacks left several people dead and injured, without a precise balance sheet having yet been established.
Two hours after the start of this attack, the Armenian government met in the capital, Yerevan, under the authority of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan who spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken who all regretted Baku’s aggression, judging it for some “unacceptable”. The Armenian Security Council also appealed to the UN and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a regional structure led by Russia, which guarantees the territorial sovereignty of its members, all former Soviet republics ( Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan). In vain: despite an attempt at intercession by Russia, whose 102nd military base, installed in Gyumri, in the north of Armenia, was put on alert, the fighting continued throughout the night along the border and continued at dawn this morning.
Several observers had warned of the imminence of a major military attack on Baku, having observed warning signs for a week. Turkish cargo planes carrying weapons landed in Azerbaijan 48 hours ago. Sporadic gunfire has been heard around some Armenian villages since the beginning of September. Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov issued a threatening statement on September 10, accusing his neighbor of armed provocations against which he called on his troops to be ready to retaliate. The same rhetoric was used to justify the aggression against Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh two years ago, triggering the “44 Day War” which claimed the lives of more than 3,000 young Armenians.
Despite discussions around a peace treaty initiated under the aegis of the European Union and Baku’s apparent efforts to stabilize the situation (five Armenian prisoners of war imprisoned for nearly two years were released days), the autocratic President Ilham Aliyev, in power for almost twenty years, recently expressed his impatience to establish a corridor between Nakhitchevan, an Azeri exclave to the west of Armenia, and the rest of his territory. This summer, he forced Artsakh authorities to abandon the Lachin Corridor linking their capital Stepanakert to Armenia, following a sudden military operation. Did he have the same intention when he launched the bombings that night? Is this attack only intended to put pressure on the Armenian Prime Minister to speed up the hoped-for agreement or is it, as some fear, a broader plan of attack? aimed at conquering “Ermenistan” and Western Zangezour (the Azeri name given to the Armenian Syunik)? Was the weakening of the Russian army in Ukraine seen as an opportunity for the master of Baku, intoxicated after his victory in November 2020? So many questions that are added to the main one that the Armenians are asking themselves on September 13: will the bombardments, which have hit civilian targets, stop?