Military exercises on the eve of Aliyev-Pashinyan meeting

Armenian officials have expressed their negative thoughts regarding the upcoming military exercises in Azerbaijan, which will include around 10.000 participants, 500 armoured vehicles, 300 artillery and 20 aviation units.

The spokesperson for Armenia’s Defence Ministry, Artsrun Hovhannisyan, stated that  “Azerbaijan organised the 11-15 March military exercises in the context of [a near-future] meeting between Aliyev and Pashinyan, which amount to an intimidation effort”. Hovhannisyan also mentioned that Baku is in clear violation of the 2011 Vienna  Document on Confidence and Security  Building Measures,  which states in article 40.1.1:

This military activity will be subject to notification whenever it involves at any time during the activity

– at least 9,000 troops, including support troops, or
– at least 250 battle tanks, or
– at least 500 ACVs, as defined in Annex III, paragraph (2), or
– at least 250 self-propelled and towed artillery pieces, mortars and
multiple rocket-launchers (100 mm calibre and above)

Mr Hovhannisyan also added that these military exercises come in response to statements made by Armenia that the liberated territories (the regions surrounding the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast’s Soviet borders) will not be ceded to Azerbaijan.

The spokesperson for the Nagorno Karabakh Presidency, Davit Babayan, on his part mentioned that these will be Azerbaijan’s second military exercise since the start of the year, “which in turn demonstrate their main objective: the destruction of the Republic of Artsakh”. Mr Babayan also stated that despite a recent decrease of ceasefire violations on the line-of-contact, that alone is not enough to give a clear picture of the current situation, one also has to take into consideration military exercises among other occurrences.

There are also unconfirmed reports that Nagorno Karabakh’s military will be put on high alert and measures will be taken to strengthen combat-readiness during the duration of Azerbaijan’s military exercises, which are planned to last from 11-15 March.

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