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Azerbaijan launches major new offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh – POLITICO


Azerbaijan has announced a new offensive in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a major escalation that could turn the simmering conflict into all-out war.

In a statement released Tuesday by the South Caucasus country’s Defense Ministry, officials said they were launching “local counterterrorism activities” to “suppress large-scale provocations” in Armenian-controlled territory.

“As part of these measures, positions on the front line and deep and long-range firing points of the formations of the Armenian Armed Forces, as well as combat assets and military installations are neutralized with the help of “high-precision weapons,” the statement said. .

Air raid sirens were activated in Stepanakert, the de facto capital of the unrecognized state, local media reported.

Speaking to POLITICO, Hikmet Hajiyev, foreign policy adviser to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, said “the goal is to neutralize military infrastructure” and added that the local Armenian population had received SMS messages warning them of ” anti-terrorist actions.

“They were asked to stay away from legitimate military targets,” Hajiyev said.

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a bloody war over Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020. A Russian-brokered ceasefire deal has since collapsed, with Azerbaijani forces taking control of the only entry route or exit – blocking humanitarian aid and triggering warnings of “ethnic cleansing”. »

This story is currently being updated.