STEPANAKERT, NKR (A.W.)—The Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR/Artsakh) Defense Army quelled a diversion attempt by the Azerbaijani Army, which took place around 11:20 p.m. on March 10. According to the NKR Defense Ministry, the NKR Defense Army pushed the Azerbaijani troops back to their positions, killing at least two and wounding several others, while the NKR Defense Army suffered no casualties.
More than 5,500 shots from various guns of different calibers were shot at Armenian positions on March 10 and 11. According to the NKR Defense Ministry press statement, the Azerbaijani Army also used howitzer cannons alongside the usual arsenal.
“It is important to note that the enemy opened fire from the aforementioned [howitzer] cannons last night not only at Armenian units positioned at the direction of Akna (Agdam), but also at territories quite far from the conflict line, which is unprecedented since the May 1994 ceasefire was set,” read a part of the statement. A howitzer is a type of artillery with a relatively short barrel, which uses relatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles at high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent.
The NKR Defense Ministry said that the unprecedented attack proves that the Azerbaijani side has adopted an unrestrained strategy to destabilize the situation at the conflict line, the result of which is unpredictable. The Ministry also announced that the NKR Defense Army took firm and punitive measures to suppress the attack, as they control the situation on the Line of Contact (LoC).
On the same day, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry claimed that Azerbaijani Armed Forces had responded to aggressive action taken by the Armenian troops, by taking punitive measures, during which up to 15 Armenian soldiers were killed and military equipment was destroyed and seized. The NKR Defense Ministry quickly denied that it had initiated any aggressive action and said it had not sustained any losses despite heavy shelling by the Azerbaijani side.
Royce and Sherman Call on Obama to Press Aliyev on Peace amid Ongoing Aggression
Nineteen-year-old NKR serviceman Aramayis Voskanian became the first Armenian casualty of 2016 on Jan. 9, in the ongoing conflict on the Azerbaijan-NKR LoC. Thirty-five Armenian soldiers and three civilians died in the NKR conflict in 2015. In early December 2015, in a span of two weeks, seven Armenian servicemen were killed by Azerbaijani fire, as Baku resorted to escalating the conflict by deploying and firing a tank on the LoC.
In anticipation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Washington for a Nuclear Summit at the end of March, in February leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee called upon President Barack Obama to use this opportunity to personally press the Azerbaijani leader to stop obstructing the implementation of the life-saving Royce-Engel peace proposals for Nagorno-Karabagh.
The letter, authored by Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Representative Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, builds upon an earlier congressional letter, sent by 85 U.S. Representatives to the State Department last December, in support of 3 practical peacekeeping measures, known collectively as the Royce-Engel proposals.
The full text of the Royce-Sherman letter can be read here.
To support this pro-peace initiative, visit www.anca.org/AliyevDC.
Source: Armenian Weekly Mid-West