Azerbaijan kills 2 Armenians in 'Revenge' drone strike operation

Azerbaijan said it had carried out an operation titled "Revenge" against a number of groups of Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh.

 An Azeri soldier and police officer talk as they stand guard at the Kalbajar district, Azerbaijan, December 21, 2020 (photo credit: AZIZ KARIMOV/REUTERS)
An Azeri soldier and police officer talk as they stand guard at the Kalbajar district, Azerbaijan, December 21, 2020
(photo credit: AZIZ KARIMOV/REUTERS)

Two soldiers from the defense force of the de-facto Artsakh Republic was killed and 14 others were injured in strikes by Azerbaijani forces in the north-western part of the Nagorno-Karabakh region on Wednesday, according to the Artsakh Defense Army.

The Republic of Artsakh is a de facto republic internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. In 2020, the area where the republic is situated was recaptured by Azerbaijan.

According to the Artsakh Defense Army, Azerbaijani forces used mortars, grenade launchers and UAVs to attack their forces near the line of contact. Video reportedly from the Azerbaijani military showed a Bayraktar drone carrying out a strike on a position of Armenian forces in the northeast of the region.

Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed that Armenian militants fired at Azerbaijani positions in the Lachin district on Wednesday morning, killing one Azerbaijani soldier.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced later in the day that it had carried out an operation it titled "Revenge" against a number of groups of Armenian forces in the region. The ministry additionally claimed that "Armenian armed groups" tried to seize the Kyrghgiz hill and establish new combat positions there.

 RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPING troops patrol near the border with Armenia, following a deal to end the military conflict between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, in 2020. (credit: REUTERS/FRANCESCO BREMBATI) RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPING troops patrol near the border with Armenia, following a deal to end the military conflict between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, in 2020. (credit: REUTERS/FRANCESCO BREMBATI)

Azerbaijani forces took control of the hill, as well as Sarybaba and a number of other locations in the area, and began building new positions and supply roads, according to the defense ministry.

Lachin links the Nagorno-Karabakh region with Armenia and is under the supervision of Russian peacekeeping forces. During an extraordinary session of the Armenia Security Council on Tuesday, it was reported that the Azerbaijani side presented a demand to organize traffic between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh through a new route outside of the Lachin Corridor.

On Wednesday, the secretary of the security council, Armen Grigoryan, rejected the demand by Azerbaijan, saying that no work has been done on such a plan and no agreement has been reached on the matter, making the demand "illegitimate." In an interview with Al Jazeera in June, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had called demands for a corridor outside the Lachin area a "redline."

Later on Wednesday, the president of the Artsakh Republic, Arayik Harutyunyan, declared a partial military mobilization in the region.

Azerbaijan says Armenia not fulfilling ceasefire obligations

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry stated on Wednesday that Armenia has not fulfilled the obligations it assumed under the ceasefire reached between the two countries after the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 2020, stressing that Armenian forces and forces affiliated with the country had agreed to leave the area, but had not done so.

"The bloody incident that took place on August 3 once again demonstrates that Armenia grossly violated the tripartite agreement, and at the same time undermined the efforts towards the normalization of relations between the two states. This is also an indicator of Armenia's disrespect for the efforts of international mediators," said the Foreign Ministry, placing "the entire responsibility of the incident" on the political and military leadership of Armenia.

Tensions continue between countries

On Monday, the Artsakh Defense Army claimed that it had prevented an attempt by Azerbaijani forces to cross the line of contact from the north and northwest. One soldier from the ADA was injured in the incident.

On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that it had recorded three violations of the ceasefire by Azerbaijani forces within a 24-hour period.

In June, a series of clashes were reported by both Azerbaijani and Armenian authorities near the border between the two countries.