The Armenian side was victorious in the 2016 April War both militarily and diplomatically, former President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan said in his first news conference since resigning in 2018. He started the briefing by reading his speech that he had made earlier during parliamentary ad hoc committee hearings investigating the clashes, where he was summoned to answer questions.
“It is the defensive side’s victory when it is [thwarting] the offensive side’s intentions with minimal losses,” Sargsyan said. “Azerbaijan’s failures in the battlefield didn’t allow it to [drive into corner] the Armenian sides and the international community and force to negotiate from their desired point and agenda. Azerbaijan also suffered defeat in the diplomatic arena,” Serzh Sargsyan, who was President of Armenia during the clashes, told the news conference.
Sargsyan said the war was inevitable. “I am sure that it was not possible to prevent or avoid war, because Azerbaijan was not ready for any option of compromise acceptable for us. Azerbaijan’s ultimate goal was to change the course of the negotiations; they wanted to prove that the issue has a military solution. Azerbaijan wanted to neutralize the fact of Artsakh being a party to the conflict. It was important for Azerbaijan to change the complex of a loser in its people’s mentality and in its military, to transform it into a [mentality] of a strong and victorious one, and implement the opposite in Armenia,” Sargsyan said.
He once again strongly dismissed rumors claiming that the Armenian side had problems in its military arsenal during the attack. He said such rumors are “simply embarrassing”.
The former President said that during the April War he had the option of not agreeing to a ceasefire and punishing Azerbaijan or returning to the initial arrangement of forces, however, according to him, that option would lead to greater human losses.
“If we were to attempt to expand the security zone with new territories, it would have been an adventurism, fraught with unpredictable consequences, up to a risk of heating up a large scale war. And thousands of victims, devastated cities and villages as a consequence. Taking into consideration all of this, as Commander in Chief, and relying upon the opinions of relevant bodies, I decided to agree to a ceasefire,” Sargsyan said.