Fighting back in Nagorno-Karabakh: Baku unleashes new military action

Baku launches military operation to regain Nagorno-Karabakh In the South Caucasus region, Azerbaijan has launched a new military operation to regain the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Ministry of Defense in Baku said on Tuesday that this action serves as an “anti-terrorist operation of a local nature to restore constitutional order” in the region in question.

According to the announcement from Baku, the main goal of this military operation is to ensure the redeployment of Armenian forces as stipulated in the ceasefire agreement following the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry assured that only military facilities were the target. It was further reported that Azerbaijani positions were first targeted by Armenian artillery, injuring several soldiers.

Vardanyan’s appeal and Artsakh’s rejection of the allegations from Baku

Ruben Vardanyan, the former prime minister of the non-internationally recognized Republic of Artsakh in Nagorno-Karabakh, spoke on his Telegram channel of intense artillery shelling in the region. “The leadership of Armenia must recognize Artsakh and join in protecting our citizens,” was his clear demand.

The current leaders of the disputed region, with a focus on Stepanakert, denied the allegations from Baku. According to a press release from the Artsakh Defense Ministry, the ceasefire is being respected and allegations of breaking the ceasefire are “false and do not correspond to the facts.”

Historical rivalry and the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh

Relations between Christian Orthodox Armenia and Muslim Azerbaijan have long been strained. The main point of contention is Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave that belongs to Azerbaijan but is populated by Armenians. After a war in the early 1990s, Armenia gained control, but in the 2020 war, Azerbaijan, well-funded with oil and gas money, regained territory.

In subsequent military operations, Baku also seized parts of Armenian territory. Armenia’s Foreign Ministry recently called on Azerbaijan to leave these regions. In response, Baku pointed out that Armenia still controls areas in Azerbaijan.

Supply crisis in Karabakh and the geopolitical power shifts

The connection for Karabakh Armenians to Armenia was interrupted by Baku for months, resulting in a lack of basic supplies.

In this conflict, Azerbaijan receives support from Turkey, while Russia, Armenia’s traditional ally, loses power. Armenia’s Prime Minister Pashinyan recently emphasized in an interview with Politico that Armenia would like to be less dependent on external supporters in the future.

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Jean Harris

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