How it all began
Unprecedented in scale (first time since 1994, when it signed the perpetual truce), a clash between the Army of defense of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR) and Azerbaijani Armed forces began in the night of 1 to April 2. Sides, naturally, blame each other. The first information about the fighting has provided the Armenian defense Ministry around 8 am on 2 April. It was reported on full-scale attack of Azerbaijani troops along the line of contact with NKR defense army with the use of armored vehicles, artillery and aviation. Closer to 9 a.m. the press service of the NKR defense army announced the destruction of Azerbaijani military helicopter and reported about successful defensive events.
In the Ministry of defense of Azerbaijan responded about 10 am. Information about the downed helicopter was denied, referring to one killed and one wounded civilian. Half an hour later officials of Azerbaijan reported that the Armenian side is first fired at positions of Azerbaijani forces and border settlements. The Azerbaijani armed forces are conducting response actions in the directions of Martakert-Tartar-Aghdam and Khojavand, Fuzuli.
To date, only Azerbaijan has officially recognized the fact of hostilities major scale (11:15), the press service of the Armenian defense Ministry and the foreign Ministry of the country has already managed to make a few statements. In 9:40 reported shelling of Armenian settlements reactive systems of volley fire (RSZO) BM-21 "Grad", resulting in the death of a child and two wounded. At 9:43 said model of the downed helicopter Mi — 24/35 (assault helicopter Soviet or Russian production) and location of the incident — to the East of the mountain Mrav. By 10:00 the Armenian defense Ministry and the foreign Ministry appealed to the OSCE Minsk group dealing with the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict (this includes Russia, USA and France). About an hour later the Armenian side announced that it had destroyed not only the helicopter but also the tank with the drone. This information in Baku later denied.
One unmanned aerial vehicle of Azerbaijani armed forces might have lost. Photo: press service of the Armenian defense Ministry
At the moment we can confidently say that one unmanned aerial vehicle of Azerbaijani armed forces really lost: Armenian military demonstrated the corresponding photo. Downed UAV is likely the model ThunderB Israeli production (coupled with the fact that Armenia uses only UAV of its own production, no doubt the accessories of the machine of the Azerbaijani army does not occur). Later, information was disseminated that a total of three units destroyed armored vehicles, two helicopters, two drones and sabotage groups the Azerbaijani armed forces. According to some estimates, killed between 40 and 50 personnel. There are also losses from the Armenian side, but specific data are not yet available.
Azerbaijan was recognized the loss of one of the Mi-24 and a single tank, and the destruction of 12 military. The losses of Armenians in Baku are estimated absolutely fantastic: more than 100 people, six tanks, 15 artillery pieces. In a big official statement of the foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan once again put all the responsibility on Armenia, which, according to Baku, the occupier and the aggressor.
The escalation of the conflict strongly condemned in Moscow. With calls to end the violence and return to peace talks was made by President of Russia Vladimir Putin. The same to the Minister of foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov and state Duma deputies. Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu has talks with the military departments of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Reactions from other countries while virtually none. Emergency meeting gathers the Minsk OSCE Troika, but it will only take place next week in Austria. ODKB (the Organization of collective security Treaty includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) has condemned the actions of Azerbaijan, urging return to peace negotiations. Recall that according to the CSTO Charter, the parties undertake to provide military assistance to each other if it was aggression.
A statement was made by the Turkish foreign Ministry. Ankara, of course, on the side of Baku. Firstly, Turkey has always supported Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and secondly, Ankara still does not have diplomatic relations with Armenia.
Who was the first to go on such a serious aggravation of the conflict is the main issue on the agenda. Photo: Ilya Pitalev / RIA Novosti
Who needs it?
What is known at the moment about the consequences of the escalation on the civilian population? Different sources reported about the Exodus of people from border areas — Ter-Terek in Azerbaijan and from the villages of Talish and the Madaghis in Nagorno-Karabakh. In Stepanakert (the capital of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh) spontaneously gathered volunteers willing to go to the front and through the city there passed a column of self-propelled artillery. Know about the collection of volunteers and organization of the Armenian Yerkrapah, the backbone of which is comprised of veterans of the first war in Nagorno-Karabakh. In Yerevan the Erebuni airport, where based fighter aircraft Russian air force MiG-29 from Gyumri were deployed Armenian su-25 — thence to the war zone to fly closer.
Who was the first to go on such a serious exacerbation of the conflict — the main issue on the agenda. For a number of reasons you can say that military actions started by Azerbaijan. First, this is evidenced by the information vacuum, which was trying to create in Baku in the early hours of hostilities. We can assume that the Azerbaijani armed forces wanted to catch the defenders by surprise, immediately taking a large area. However, the plan backfired: now even Azeri sources are not talking about any serious promotion of their troops (only about capturing several enemy positions, and the Armenian side reported that they have already returned).
View of Stepanakert, capital of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Photo: David Mdzinarishvili / Reuters
In addition, Yerevan has no apparent reason to take any gambles. Armenia has long called for withdrawal of snipers, the international monitoring of the ceasefire and so on. This is logical, given that de facto the war in the early 90s won the Armenian side, having established control over the disputed territories.
Causes and consequences
The intensity and frequency of fire on the contact line is continuously increased from 2014. Gradually increased and "gauges" — has openly posted videos of mortar attacks, made with drones. The escalation is caused by various factors. And there is a marked deterioration in the economic situation in Azerbaijan in connection with the fall in oil prices. The Azeri currency has been devalued twice. The discontent of the population can always be directed towards the Armenians, against whom more than 20 years is harsh information war. Here and the sharp deterioration between Russia and Turkey — the Turkish leadership is beneficial to incite his closest ally to war with Armenia. After all, if the fighting does not stop, then one Nagorny Karabakh they, apparently, will not be limited. And thus distract the attention and energy of Moscow from Syria, where Ankara has its ambitions. This version, by the way, adheres to the leadership of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
One of the possible factors — some isolation of the regime of Ilham Aliyev in Azerbaijan with the Western countries — until the threat of the entry of sanctions for the violation of human rights. Military demarche to draw attention to his person, because a big war is going to hurt the business of many countries that have invested in the oil and gas industry of Azerbaijan. Another probable rationale — supplies Armenia with modern Russian weapons. Recently it became known that Yerevan will have a heavy MLRS "Smerch" heavy reactive flame throwers "the Sun" and other weapons in through a soft loan of 200 million dollars. That noticeably improve the combat readiness of the Armenian side.
What are the implications and prospects? While it is not quite clear whether what is happening next, though very powerful, provocation or started the big war. In any case, a constant increase of violence on the border could not continue indefinitely. Over the last two years has emerged is not one formal occasion to Declaration of war. And at this rate it is possible to come very soon. Although the great war would be a disaster for both countries. Opponents have huge arsenals of weapons, many samples of which only the dream of the country at times larger area and population. Powerful given that commandos of the fortifications built by the Armenians on the border, the war will shift in a positional grinder in which the country may lose many key infrastructure facilities. To prevent such a dire scenario, which can, apparently, only the intervention of Russia.
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