Thursday, 18 July

Artsakh Frontline: "Punitive countermeasures must be result-oriented"

News circulated yesterday that the Artsakh Defense Forces had launched a serious of “punishing” blows against opposing Azerbaijani forces up and down the frontline of contact.

The military operations were in response to Azerbaijani sniper fire that killed two Artsakh soldier on November 19 and 20.

According to the news reports, one Azerbaijani soldier had been killed in the Horadiz region.

Sources within the Artsakh Defense Forces told Armenia Liberty radio said that 42 Azerbaijani military personnel had been killed so far as a result of their punitive counter actions.

Since the 1994 ceasefire, 1,500 soldiers have been killed in the Armenian Army. Legal rights organization claim that out of the 190 Armenian soldiers who died during 2008-2011, only 28 were killed as a result of ceasefire violations.

Davit Karapetyan (Press Secretary for the RA Army) – Regarding the operations carried out by the Artsakh Defense Force (ADF), it would be more correct for you to contact top officials in the ADF itself. (I tried to reach Senor Hasratyan, Public Affairs Director for the ADF, by phone but he was out of reach)

I can only note that punitive countermeasures are a given after each and every Azerbaijani intrigue.

Has the RA Army carried out punitive operations in Tavoush Marz?

It would be appropriate to go into details regarding military activities. Similar operations have been carried out this year but when and where I wouldn’t say.

The RA Minister of Defense declared that for every Armenian soldier killed, the Azerbaijani side would pay for several times over.

The defense minister has always declared that in similar situations punitive measures would be taken, especially against Azerbaijani snipers.

Do you think such punitive measures will make the Azerbaijani side think twice or will they revert back to their old ways after some time passes?

Sadly, right now there aren’t more viable ways to restrict the enemy and avoid future intrigues.

Artzroun Hovhannisyan (Military Expert) – It is difficult to say how many have been killed as a result of punitive operations. Until the opponent accepts a given figure, you cannot state for certain how many have been killed.

Do think the punitive measures will continue according to a pre-arranged schedule or are they based on developments on the ground?

I would say such operations are more based on results. Time is a factor, but the directive must be result oriented.

So, given the statement of Armenia’s Defense Minister, the punitive operations will continue till that time when our side has inflicted damage on the enemy that outweighs that inflicted on us by a factor of several times?

Of course. Just look at the press reports over the years and check their official figures and ours. The losses sustained by the enemy outstrip ours by a factor of three or four, even five.

There’s always been a certain regularity about the numbers. If we have lost 6,000 soldiers, then they have lost more than 20,000.

Do you think these operations will incite the enemy?

The same question was raised last year. Nothing of the kind will happen in a country that creates false values and heroes. If these losses lead to internal disruptions in Azerbaijan, only then will the authorities come to their senses. With the passage of time and for a variety of reasons, they can once again revert to taking provocative actions.

The first photo by Armen Yeramishyan

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