rt.com on nagorno-karabakh

Turkish F-16 shoots down Armenian SU-25 fighter jet – Defense Ministry in Yerevan
RT.com, Sep 29 2020

A Turkish F-16 fighter has shot down an Armenian Air Force Su-25, Yerevan has announced. It comes three days after a military conflict between Armenia and neighboring Azerbaijan broke out over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Officials in Yerevan said the incident took place in Armenian airspace and that the pilot of the Su-25 pilot was killed. The attack comes hours after Ankara said that it would help Azerbaijan repel “Armenian aggression,” offering both diplomatic and military assistance. Armenia said earlier that it was prepared to use Russian-made Iskander ballistic missiles in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region if Turkey deploys its American-built F-16 fighter jets in support of the Azeri offensive. The Azeri senior defense officials on Monday dismissed as “disinformation” reports that Turkish F-16 fighters were supporting Azerbaijani troops. Also on Monday, the leader of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, Arayik Harutyunyan, alleged that local forces had shot down what he said was a Turkish F-16. Vagif Dargyahly, a spokesman for that country’s fefense ministry dismissed his claim, describing it as “lies and provocation,” and adding “you can’t destroy what doesn’t exist.” The government of Armenia claimed that the Turkish F-16 took off from an airbase inside Azerbaijan. A spokesman for Erdogan denied Yerevan’s claim to Bloomberg. Azerbaijan’s defense ministry has also denied that a Turkish F-16 jet has shot down an Armenian warplane. Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan broke out on Sunday, after Azeri and ethnic Armenian soldiers exchanged fire. The region of Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but is populated by ethnic Armenians. Baku considers the enclave to be illegally occupied by Yerevan. Both sides have accused one another of killing civilians. The longtime rivals have also engaged in a propaganda war, posting videos allegedly showing military hardware that they destroyed on the battlefield. Baku has repeatedly argued that Turkey is not involved in any hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh. However, officials in Ankara have publicly supported the Azeri cause, pledging “full support” and calling on Yerevan to vacate the “occupied” lands.

Armenia claims Azerbaijani artillery attacks are intensifying as Nagorno-Karabakh officials allege they’ve downed Azeri warplane
RT.com, Sep 28 2020

Fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh intensified, on Monday, with heavy civilian and military casualties reported amid disputed claims of an Azeri warplane being shot down. Azerbaijani troops and forces from Nagorno-Karabakh have been trading artillery and rocket fire, with the population of much of Karabakh told to seek shelter. Meanwhile, Armenia has declared a general mobilization and barred men between the ages of 18 and 55 from leaving the country, except with the approval of military authorities. The most intense attacks took place in the Aras river valley, near the border with Iran, and the Matagis-Talish front in the northeast of the region, according to Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan. He claimed that the Azeri side has lost 22 tanks and a dozen other vehicles, along with 370 dead and many wounded.

Artur Sargsyan, deputy commander of the Nagorno-Karabakh military, said their own losses so far have amounted to 84 dead and more than 200 wounded. Both figures should be understood in the context of an ongoing information war run by the belligerents. Vagram Pogosyan, spokesman for the president of the self-declared Artsakh Republic, the ethnic Armenian de-facto government in the capital Stepanakert, said their forces shot down an Azeri An-2 airplane outside the town of Martuni on Monday. This is in addition to some three dozen drones, including ones provided by Turkey, that the Armenian forces claim to have shot down over the past 48 hours.

Baku has denied the reports, saying only that two civilians were killed on Monday, in addition to five on Sunday, and 30 were injured. There was no official information on military casualties. Reports concerning the downed airplane were rejected as “not corresponding to reality.” Azeri forces have taken several strategically important locations near the village of Talish in Nagorno-Karabakh, Colonel Anar Eyvazov, spokesman for the Defense Ministry in Baku, said in a statement. He was also quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that Lernik Vardanyan, an Armenian airborne commander, was killed near Talish. Armenia has denied this and labelled it “disinformation.” In a video conference on Monday, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev told UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres that the question of Nagorno-Karabakh should be resolved in line with UNSCRs guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and called for the urgent withdrawal of Armenian troops from “occupied territories.” The current Azeri offensive is backed by Turkey. Erdogan has called Armenia “the biggest threat” to peace in the region, and called for it to end the “occupation” of Azeri land. he said in Istanbul on Monday:

Recent developments have given all influential regional countries an opportunity to put in place realistic and fair solutions.

Unconfirmed reports that Turkish-backed militants from northern Syria have been transported to Azerbaijan to fight the Armenians have been denied by Baku as “complete nonsense.” They amount to “another provocation from the Armenian side,” Khikmet Gadzhiev, an aide to President Aliyev, told Al Jazeera. Meanwhile, Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan vowed his people “won’t retreat a single millimeter from defending our people and our Artsakh.” All Armenians “must unite to defend our history, our homeland, identity, our future and our present,” Pashinyan tweeted on Sunday from Yerevan. Nagorno-Karabakh is one of several border disputes left over from the collapse of the Soviet Union. An enclave predominantly populated by Armenians, it seceded from Azerbaijan in 1988 and declared itself the Republic of Artsakh following a bitter war in 1992-94.

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