Azerbaijan has announced a new offensive in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a major escalation which could turn the simmering dispute into all-out war.
In a statement issued by the South Caucasus nation’s defense ministry on Tuesday, officials said they were launching “local anti-terrorist activities” to “suppress large-scale provocations” in the ethnic-Armenian controlled territory.
“As part of the measures, positions on the front line and in-depth, long-term firing points of the formations of Armenia’s armed forces, as well as combat assets and military facilities are incapacitated using high-precision weapons,” the statement said.
Air raid sirens have been activated in Stepanakert, the de facto capital of the unrecognized state, local media reported.
Speaking to POLITICO, Hikmet Hajiyev, foreign policy adviser to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, said that the “goal is to neutralize military infrastructure” and added that the local Armenian population had been sent SMS messages warning them of the “counter-terrorism actions.”
“They have been asked to stay apart from legitimate military targets,” Hajiyev said.
Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a bloody war over Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020. A Russia-brokered cease-fire agreement has since collapsed, with Azerbaijani forces taking control of the only road in or out — blocking humanitarian aid and triggering warnings of “ethnic cleansing.”
This story is being updated.
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