An Armenian soldier fires a cannon towards Azerbaijani targets. The recent flare-up in violence is the largest in decades.
On September 27, the Azerbaijani army launched counter-offensive operations to prevent the ongoing attack by Armenian armed forces and to ensure the safety and security of Azerbaijani civilians. A state of war has officially been declared in Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani army is conducting these counter-offensive operations within the Azerbaijani borders recognised by the UN. We are defending ourselves.
At the recent meeting of the UN Security Council, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, repeatedly stated that we have never had any intentions to occupy anyone else’s land. The armed forces of Azerbaijan have no intentions, or plans relating to the territory of Armenia, or anywhere else. However, we will most certainly defend ourselves within the borders of our own country.
Azerbaijan has always wanted a peaceful resolution of the conflict through diplomatic negotiations. By contrast, the Armenian leadership has disrupted the negotiation process by various means – making statements on the involvement of Nagorno Karabakh in the negotiation process as a third party, contrasting the positions of co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and making new territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Additionally, recent provocations by Armenian armed forces have intensified along the borders and frontlines.
As a logical result of this, the tensions in the conflict zone have risen to their highest level, making military operations inevitable. Unfortunately, battles have their own rules, therefore losses are inevitable. However, this time Armenia is again violating fundamental humanitarian principles by targeting its military activity at our civilian population.
In the past three days, 16 Azerbaijani civilians have been killed and 55 civilians have been injured. In July, this same shelling of civilians occurred along our border in the Tovuz region, resulting in the death of a 76-year-old resident of the village of Aghdam.
In doing this, Armenia is brutally violating Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, as well as several articles in the Paragraph 3. Azerbaijan is keeping the international community regularly informed about these abuses of the Convention.
Representatives of international organisations (such as the UN and EU) in our country, as well as foreign military attachés accredited in the Republic of Azerbaijan, are being kept informed by the Ministry of Defence of Azerbaijan about the Armenian aggression towards us, the situation on the frontlines and the counter-measures taken by our troops in response to Armenian violence.
Comprehensive information was also delivered on the liberated areas and strategic heights, as well as about the Armenian provocations and disinformation activities.
The battles are still ongoing. The harsh truth is that citizens of Azerbaijan have been living apart from their ancestral native homelands for nearly 30 years, as refugees and internally displaced people. Our citizens, who were expelled by force from their ancestral lands by the Armenian leadership, are now eager to return to their former homes. This is the absolute right of the citizens of Azerbaijan.
In accordance with all requirements of international law, the use of any kind of opportunity may be considered to restore the territorial integrity of a state. Azerbaijan will therefore restore its territorial integrity and sovereignty based on the norms and principles of international law.