There are currently up to 1,000 Azerbaijani soldiers that are illegally located inside the territory of Armenia, said Major-General Edward Asryan, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armenia Armed Forces at a press briefing, reports Armenpress, News.am, and Panorama.
Asryan assured that the Azerbaijani units “have no chance of performing serious tasks” on the territory of Armenia and that “the number does not exceed a thousand along the entire line of contact.”
The operational-tactical situation at the Armenian state border is relatively tense, added Asryan.
He added that the situation was tense in the Sev Lake-Verishen direction of the Syunik province, and the situation in the direction of Kut village in Gegharkunik province escalated overnight.
“These Azeri troops don’t have the possibility of carrying out any serious objectives in our territory. If we were to solve the issue militarily, these 1,000 troops won’t leave our territory – we’d destroy them all without exception,” the Major-General said.
“The Azerbaijani Armed Forces units are attempting to carry out their provocative-coercive actions in several directions. Meanwhile our armed forces, by taking countermeasures, are attempting to repel the adversary forces and means which have penetrated into the territory of the Republic of Armenia,” the major-general said.
The political leadership has not issued any order on not firing at the Azeri incursion force currently inside Armenian territory, and decision-making in opening or not opening fire is vested in the military leadership, not political, the Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces Major-General Edvard Asryan said at a May 27 press briefing.
“Giving such orders isn’t up to the political leadership. The military leadership is the one who gives orders to shoot or not to shoot. The political leadership determines the directions of resolution, the terms. While the issue of shooting or not shooting is discussed and the decision is made by us,” Asryan said.
“A number of incidents have been registered when both our and Azerbaijani servicemen engaged in hand-to-hand combat, while carrying weapons assigned to them. The same situation was recorded during the incident that took place this morning,” said Asryan, referring to the capture of six Armenian soldiers by the Azerbaijani forces.
“If we feel that it is no longer possible to engage in hand-to-hand combat, that the enemy is striving for some kind of rearrangement, is preparing for battle, then we ourselves will start shooting, use weapons and destroy them. All enemy soldiers are under our direct fire. There are no signs of the need to use force yet,” said the Major General.
The Armenian side has the opportunity to capture the Azerbaijani servicemen who invaded the territory of the Republic of Armenia, said Asryan.
“Yes, we have the opportunity to capture them. We can capture 20-50 of them. They will also be captured and so on indefinitely. As we try to resolve the situation through diplomacy, restore the border without using weapons and force them to withdraw. There is also the option of using force and forcing them to retreat. Captivity, of course, is also a method, but it does not solve the problem. On the contrary, it will eventually lead to a conflict. But all the options are being discussed, the decision will be made,” said the general.
The high-ranking military officer explained this behavior by the fact that for 16 days the military-political leadership of Armenia has been trying to settle the situation peacefully.
Giving details of the incident, Asryan said this morning the Azerbaijani forces approached 4 Armenian servicemen who were carrying out engineering work in the border area of Gegharkunik Province, pointed weapons at them and demanded that they surrender. At the same time, according to Asryan, two other Armenian soldiers, who were at that moment at a certain distance, approached the Azeri troops to conduct negotiations.
“However, taking advantage of the numerical superiority and pursuing its vile policy, the enemy disarmed and captured six Armenian soldiers,” Asryan said.
According to him, relevant work is currently being carried out, adding negotiations are underway with the mediation of the Russian peacekeeping troops deployed in Artsakh. He said during the talks the Azerbaijani side set a number of conditions for the withdrawal of both the Azerbaijani troops from Armenian territory and Armenian forces from the new positions taken by them in the area early on Thursday.
“We have set our conditions, according to which our army units, that fully took up their positions from 5am to 10am, will pull back only on condition of the return of our captured servicemen. Other conditions are unacceptable for us,” he said.
Eduard Asryan stressed that the Armenian military units stand ready to fulfill the set tasks in those directions, adding, nevertheless, the military leadership is trying to resolve the issue through negotiations to avoid difficult situations.
Photo by Photolure