By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik with Editor Lee Kap-soo, Reporter Kim Young-myung
“On Oct. 10, 2020, right after a humanitarian ceasefire agreed in Moscow, the Armed Forces of Armenia continued targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure in Tartar city in Azerbaijan, as well as Horadiz city of Fuzuli district with rocket fires.”
Speaking at a recent interview with the editorial/reportorial staffers of The Korea Post media at the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Seoul on Oct. 12, Ambassador Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan in Seoul said, “The second biggest city of Azerbaijan, Ganja was under rocket fire from the territory of Armenia and as a result of the deliberate shelling by Armenia, until now 41 Azerbaijani civilians, including 2 schoolchildren were killed and 205 injured.”
Ambassador Teymurov appeared very much interested in the recovery and maintenance of ever-lasting peace in the region, and expressed concern over the repeated attacks against his country from Armenia.
At the interview with The Korea Post media was also Counsellor & Deputy Head of Mission Dr. Vasif Aliyev of the Embassy, who understood and spoke the Korean language “as well as indigenous Koreans—if not better.”
The purposeful targeting of civilians and civilian objects by Armenia, continued Ambassador Teymurov, “is a flagrant violation of international law, including international humanitarian law.” Then he added: “Despite numerous warnings by the Azerbaijani side, including via the relevant international organizations, the continuation of the targeted attacks on civilians by the armed forces of Armenia is a clear demonstration of the purposeful killing of innocent people and continuation of the aggression policy of Armenia.”
Remarks by Ambassador Teymurov, which were substantially interpreted in the Korean language by Counsellor Aliyev, follow:
On Sept. 27, 2020 the armed forces of Armenia blatantly violating the ceasefire regime have launched another act of aggression against Azerbaijan, by intensively attacking the positions of the armed forces of Azerbaijan along the fronline using large caliber weapons, mortar launchers and artillery.
This act of aggression by Armenia against Azerbaijan is yet another blatant violation of fundamental norms and principles of international law, the international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Additional Protocols, as well as the United Nations Security Council resolutions 822, 853, 874, 884 of 1993 demanding the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the armed forces of Armenia from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Fundamental rights of Azerbaijani civilians, the right to life being the most vivid example, are being brazenly violated by Armenia.
As a result of deliberate targeting of armed forces of Armenia, 41 Azerbaijani civilians, including two children and two elderly killed and more than 205 civilians were hospitalized with different injuries so far. More than 1165 private properties, as well as other civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools have been targeted. Extensive damage was inflicted upon energy and electricity infrastructure.
The armed forces of Armenia do not even spare ambulances and medical facilities in a blatant violation of international humanitarian law, in particular Article 35 of the First Geneva Convention of 1949.
Armenia’s deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure is by no means isolated case. Since early 1990s, Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan has been accompanied by serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law with respect to Azerbaijani civilians. Ethnic cleansing against all Azerbaijani population of the occupied territories is one of the egregious war crimes committed by Armenia. Close to one million Azerbaijani IDPs remain deprived of their basic human rights.
As a direct consequence of ethnic cleansing, all civilian population has been expelled from the occupied territories and no infrastructure left therein, except military installations of Armenia. Therefore, reports by Armenian propaganda of losses among Armenian civilians seem to be fake. In sharp contrast, along the line of contact controlled by the armed forces of Azerbaijan there are densely populated residential areas. Armenia brazenly takes advantage of this situation and as a tactic of terror deliberately targets the residential settlements along the line of contact with the purpose of spreading panic within the Azerbaijani society.
In order to repel military aggression by Armenia and ensure the security of civilians and densely populated residential areas deep inside the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan undertake counter-offensive measures. Azerbaijan acts on its sovereign soil within the right of self-defence and takes adequate and proportionate measures in full compliance with the international humanitarian law to thwart the imminent threat to its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and security of its civilian population.
In this situation, when Armenia clearly disregards the norms and principles of international law, undermines the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, grossly violates international human rights and humanitarian law by deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, it is incumbent on the international community, including the Republic of Korea more than ever to demonstrate principled position and express its solidarity with Azerbaijan in its struggle.
It is of paramount importance to emphasize that high-level public statements must be adequate to the gravity and scale of the threat posed by Armenia’s aggressive actions and contribute to persuading Armenia to comply with most basic tenets of international law, including the international humanitarian law with respect to the Republic of Azerbaijan and its population.
Instead, “balanced” approach towards the aggressor and the aggrieved based on considerations of “impartiality” or “neutrality”, in fact, rewards Armenia, further feeds the culture of impunity enjoyed by Armenia’s political-military leadership, and consequently encourages Armenia to commit further crimes. In fact, current aggravated situation, has, to a large extent, emerged due to this sense of impunity which allowed Armenia to take increasingly harmful position in negotiations and disregard the international law in such an overt manner.
In light of the above-mentioned, the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan appeals to the Government of the Republic of Korea with a request of issuing strong public statement condemning Armenia’s armed attacks against Azerbaijan, urging this state to cease its aggression and fully comply with its obligations under international law, including the humanitarian law, and withdraw its forces from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan in line with the above-mentioned resolutions of UN Security Council.
We underline that this military provocation by Armenia is aimed at the conscious worsening of the situation on the ground and demonstrates the intention of Armenia to enlarge the zone of hostilities and scope of military operations. The Armed Forces of Azerbaijan will take adequate countermeasures to protect its civilians. We urge Armenia to obey norms and principles of international law, including its obligations under the international humanitarian law, and implement the demands of the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council for immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. We reiterate that full responsibility for the deterioration of the situation in the region lies on the leadership of Armenia.
On Armenia's irresponible attempts to exploit journalists:
There are increasing number of reports indicating Armenia’s irresponsible attempts to exploit journalists, both its own nationals and citizens of third countries in the course of its ongoing military operations against the Republic of Azerbaijan. It is of particular concern that in some cases while bringing journalists and other media professionals into the theatre of active military operations Armenia, apparently on purpose, does not take necessary measures with a view to clearly distinguishing them from combatants.
This irresponsible behavior of Armenia in itself is a serious violation of its obligation under international humanitarian law, to take all feasible precautions to protect the civilian population and civilian objects under its control against the effects of attacks. In so doing, Armenia put the safety and security of journalists operating in the conflict zone under risk, for the purposes of its anti-Azerbaijan propaganda.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan recalls that under international humanitarian law, and the UN Security Council resolutions 1738 (2006) and 2222(2015), journalists in armed conflicts are classified as civilians, and as such should be afforded the same protection as applicable to civilians, provided that they take no action adversely affecting their status as civilians.
Therefore, it is of crucial importance that all journalists, media professionals and associated personnel to exercise maximum care and avoid any action that would undermine their status as civilian in the conflict zone.
The Ministry, furthermore, underlines that the above-mentioned UNSC resolutions provide a framework for the journalistic activity and serve as the terms of reference for the media professionals working in and reporting on the situations of armed conflicts. In particular, in these resolutions the Security Council reaffirms the commitment to the principles of the political independence, sovereign equality and territorial integrity of all States, and respect for the sovereignty of all States and condemns the use of the media to incite violence, genocide, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law.
Failure by journalists to follow these clear guidelines increases the risks of exploitation of media to foment hatred and tensions and promotes situations created through unlawful use of force against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States and accompanied by serious violations of international humanitarian law, thus, contributing to continuation of occupation of territories and conflicts.
We again call on journalists to avoid visiting the temporarily occupied territories of Azerbaijan, thus not giving an opportunity to Armenia to exploit them, and those who are operating in the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan to strictly comply with the above-mentioned requirements and refrain from any action undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, including through propagating the illegal use of forces by Armenia against Azerbaijan. We strongly urge all those media representatives to strictly follow the rules and regulations of the Republic of Azerbaijan related to accreditation of foreign journalists in Azerbaijan.
We further call on all relevant inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions to exercise all necessary measures with a view to preventing exploitation of journalists, media workers and associated personnel by Armenia in its military aggression against Azerbaijan, and ensuring that all journalists strictly follow rules and regulations with a view to not adversely affecting their status as civilians.
The latest statement of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs:
As it is known, on September 27, 2020, the Armenian armed forces grossly violated the ceasefire, fired at the positions of the Republic of Azerbaijan along the line of contact with large-caliber weapons, mortars and artillery of various calibers, and launched another act of aggression against Azerbaijan. A new act of aggression against the positions of Azerbaijan is a continuation of the provocative steps taken by Armenia in recent months, including an attempt to attack in the Tovuz direction on July 12-16, a sabotage and reconnaissance provocation in the Goranboy direction on August 23, a policy of illegal settlement in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, as well as provocative statements and activities of the Armenian leadership.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, in his statement at the general debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, has warned that Armenia is preparing for a new military provocation against Azerbaijan. We would like to note that the provocations carried out by the Armenian leadership, both in word and in deed, including the visit to Shusha to participate in the inauguration of the self-proclaimed regime in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, the provocative “Karabakh is Armenia” statement made in the occupied city of Khankendi, the introduction of a “new war for new territories” concept by the occupying country, putting forward 7 pre-conditions in the conflict settlement negotiations, as well as attempts to change the talks format, have dealt a blow to the conflicts settlement process mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.
As part of another military aggression against Azerbaijan, Armenia’s armed forces, faithful to their traditions, have purposefully targeted Azerbaijani civilians and civil infrastructure in gross violation of the norms and principles of international law, in particular international humanitarian law and the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, thus committing various crimes against the civilian population. As of October 12, 2020, 41 Azerbaijani civilians were killed, 205 were injured and more than 1165 houses and civilian facilities were destroyed. There are numerous facts of the use of terrorist groups and mercenaries in military operations by Armenia during the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and surrounding areas of Azerbaijan. At present, the Armenian leadership continues this policy and makes extensive use of extremist elements against Azerbaijan as part of its new act of aggression. The OSCE Minsk Group in its numerous statements so far has stressed that the status quo is unacceptable.
Armenia, however, acting contrary to this, is trying to consolidate the status quo regime based on occupation. It is obvious that Armenia is not interested in resolving the conflict through negotiations and is trying to annex the occupied territories.
To date, Armenia has not complied with the requirements of numerous decisions adopted by international organizations, including, first of all, those reflected in the UN Security Council Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of 1993, regarding the withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan. On the contrary, acting in an atmosphere of impunity, Armenia is undertaking new acts of aggression against Azerbaijan. The political and military leadership of Armenia bears full responsibility for the existing situation in the region.
Civilian casualties and damage inflicted upon civilian infrastructure as a result of Armenia’s act of aggression against Azerbaijan. The armed forces of Armenia have been continuing to target the civilian population, private houses and other civilian infrastructure in residential areas along the line of contact in a gross violation of its obligations under international humanitarian law, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
Civilian facilities, such as hospitals, medical centers, school buildings and kindergartens have been subjected to indiscriminate shelling of armed forces of Armenia, including from artillery and other large-caliber weaponry.
As of 12 October, totally 41 civilians, including children and elderly were killed, 205 civilians have been hospitalized. 1165 damaged private houses and 146 private properties are out of use as a result of armed attack.
Below are photo evidences of the humanitarian law violations of the armed forces of Armenia. The armed forces of Armenia have been continuing to target the civilian population, private houses and other civilian infrastructure in residential areas along the line of contact in a gross violation of its obligations under international humanitarian law, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
Civilian facilities, such as hospitals, medical centers, school buildings and kindergartens as well as graveyards have been subjected to indiscriminate shelling of armed forces of Armenia, including from artillery and other large-caliber weaponry.
As of 12 October, totally 41 civilians, including children and elderly have been killed, 205 civilians have been hospitalized with various injuries as a consequence of heavy artillery shelling. 1,165 houses and 146 civilian facilities have been destroyed as a result of armed attack. Vehicles belonging to civilians became unserviceable, and numerous small and large horned animals and haystacks were destroyed as well.
Biased media news:
In recent days, we have been witnessing a smear campaign full of lies and slander in some foreign media that as if “militants from Syria being deployed to Azerbaijan”. There is no doubt that Armenia is behind these allegations, which are not based on any facts and are spread in the form of interviews with fictitious people. The aim of this smear campaign is to attempt to compensate for the negative international public opinion created by Armenia’s recent relocation, in a demonstrative way, of representatives of terrorist organizations from the Middle East to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, which is a gross violation of international humanitarian law. There are numerous facts on the use of terrorist groups and mercenaries in military operations during the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions of Azerbaijan by Armenia.
The Armenian armed forces subjected to artillery fire the Terter city, the Shikharh village of the district, the village of Sogan-Verdiler and the Amirli settlement of the Barda region, Aghdam settlement of the Tovuz region, the villages of Hindiristan, Alibeyli, Ahmadaghali and Safarli Guzanli settlement of the Aghdam region. Armenian armed units targeted the Sabirkend settlement of the Shamkir region from the territory of Armenia and the Guzanly village of the Agdam region from the occupied territories using artillery fire and rockets.
The Armenian armed forces have also fired on the energy infrastructure in Goranboy, Tartar, Agdam, Fuzuli and Agjabadi.
10 kV Telestudio overhead line from 35/10 kV Khangarvand substation in Goranboy, and the 35 kV Gulustan and 10 kV Azizbeyov, 2nd Subartesian overhead lines from 110/30/10 kV Naftalan substation were repeatedly shot in Goranboy. The 0.4 kV distribution network in Tapgaragoyunlu is useless, repair and restoration work has not yet been possible.
10 kV AzGes №3, Sarijali №11 overhead lines from 110/35/10 kV Tartar substation and 10kV Borsunlu №3 from 35 kV Demirchiler substation were shot and restored in Tartar.
35 kV Horadiz-Boyuk Bahmanli overhead line, as well as 10 kV Shukurbayli, Gazakhlar, Babi and Alkhanli overhead lines from the 35/10 kV Horadiz and Mahmudlu substation was shot in different places and then restored in Fuzuli. In Alkhanli and Shukurbayli villages, the 0.4 kV distribution network is useless, repair and restoration work is under way.
110 kV Tazakand-1, Tzakand-2, Khindiristan-1 and Khindiristan-2 overhead lines were shot in Agdam. These lines have also been restored. In Agjabadi, 10 kV Minakhorlu from 110/35/10 kV Karabakh substation and 10 kV PMK-4 overhead line from 35/10 kV Qiyamadinli substation were shot down and restored.
According to the latest data on gas supply, the gas supply of Tapgaragoyunlu village of Goranboy remains to be limited. At present, natural gas has been supplied at more than 50% of Fuzuli region. The gas supply of 53 residental settlements, except Tartar city and 51 villages, 25 villages of Agjabadi, a village and 5 settlements of Agdam, has been suspended.
Below are the photo evidences of the humanitarian law violations of the armed forces of Armenia.
These bogus claims are incompatible from a military-technical point of view, as they lack simple logic. Various sources claim that several hundred mercenaries were allegedly brought to Azerbaijan. Then such a question arises; In the context of a possible clash of two regular armies, can a small number of irregular groups change the balance of forces? Of course, those who spread misinformation are not able to answer this question. Once again, we categorically reject these ugly allegations against Azerbaijan and emphasize that the Azerbaijani Army does not need any outside forces to ensure its territorial integrity within its international borders.
At present, the Armenian leadership continues this policy and widely uses extremist elements against Azerbaijan as part of its new act of aggression. Thus, Armenia’s plan to create “voluntary militant groups” to be used for military purposes is aimed at using the “services” of terrorists who have been moved to Armenia from the Middle East for years. Unlike Armenia, which has been, over the years, experiencing a severe demographic crisis and as a result of which it has not able to equip its armed forces, Azerbaijan has fully-fledged armed forces, and these armed forces are so professional and strong that no external forces, especially irregular groups, are needed to achieve the set goal.
Weapons used by Armenia in the occupied area of Azerbaijan:
Since 27.09.2020, the Armed Forces of Armenia have been using weapons illegally stationed in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan against civil infrastructure objects - hospitals, medical centers, school buildings, kindergartens, administrative buildings of public agencies.
According to the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan, some of these weapons listed below were destroyed during 27.09.2020-09.10.2020 period:
• up to 200 tanks and other armored vehicles;
• 228 artillery pieces, multiple launch rocket systems and mortars;
• 30 Air Defense means;
• 6 command-control and command-observation posts;
• 5 ammunition depots;
• more than 110 vehicles;
• 1 anti-aircraft missile system.
Destroyed weapons include, but are not limited to S-300 anti-aircraft missile system, OSA-AKM” anti-aircraft missile system, “Uragan” multiple launch rocket system, BM-21 “Grad” multiple launch rocket system, D-20 gun-howitzers. Some of these weapons were destroyed before their operational use.
According to the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Armenia used different artillery weapons, mortars of various calibers, multiple launch rocket systems, as well as “Tochka-U” high-precision tactical missile system. This system was showcased for the first time in 2016 during military parade in Yerevan. Information about 4 pieces of “Tochka-U” appears in the Military Balance 2019.10
As it can be concluded, military goods sold to Armenia are illegally transferred and used in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Hence, every effort must be made to prevent arms sales to Armenia.
Address of the Armenian Prime Minister to the nation on Oct. 4, 2020:
In his address to the Armenian people on October 3, the Armenian Prime Minister voiced his traditional lies and slander. N. Pashinyan who is trying to justify his aggressive policy and turn the Armenian people into a victim of this policy is far from taking steps to restore peace in the region.
Ignoring the illegal presence of the Armenian armed forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions of Azerbaijan and the demands of the international community, including UN Security Council resolutions, to end the occupation, the current Armenian leadership, on the one hand, continues to cover up its aggressive policy by adding completely unfounded religious elements to the issue, and on the other hand, leads its people to disaster.
What the Armenian leadership repeatedly says about, as if Turkey's involvement in regional operations has only one purpose, and that is to involve third parties in the conflict. We once again remind that the Azerbaijani Army is sufficiently prepared to restore its territorial integrity within its international borders and has been carrying out counter-attacks to prevent new Armenian aggression since July 27, in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter.
As for the absurd views of the Armenian Prime Minister on the policy of “genocide against Armenians”, we underline that unlike Armenia, which committed war crimes against the Azerbaijani population, crimes against humanity and the Khojaly genocide, the Azerbaijani side responds to these attacks in compliance with international humanitarian law and does not target civilians.
The Azerbaijani Armed Forces are fighting on their sovereign soil to restore the country’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. Every step taken by the Armenian leadership to cover up its direct responsibility for the current situation in the region is doomed to failure.