The Defence Minister of Nagorno Karabakh Levon Mnatsakanyan gave an exclusive televised interview on 30 July 2017. During his interview he discussed the current situation of tensions between Armenia-Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan, highlighted the latest achievements of the Armenian military forces and shared his opinion on many important issues relating to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
What was significant about the interview, that many overlooked, was where it took place: on the Jdr Duz Cliffside near the city of Shushi, a symbol of Armenian victory over Azerbaijan in the 1990s war and reciprocal defeat of the latter at the hands of Armenians. The symbolical importance of this remains in the collective memory of both sides, as Shushi’s liberation (for Armenia’s side) and loss (for the Azeri side) was a significant turning point in the Nagorno Karabakh war. It essentially broke the blockade around the enclave and led to Armenian forces controlling the areas around the enclave bordering Armenia. There is no doubt that General Mnatsakanyan’s election of this area for his rare interview is aimed at sending the other side a message.
General Mnatsakanyan came forward with a strong statement to Azerbaijan’s authorities, stating that in case of another outbreak of large-scale military operations (essentially a war), the Armenian side would leave aside defensive measures and go on a counter-offensive, “liberating not only the territories list in April of 2016, but other border regions that will help us guarantee our security.”