YEREVAN (Combined sources) — A war is effectively taking place at the frontlines and two-decade-long ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh has essentially come to an end, Armenia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovannisian said on Tuesday, describing the current situation in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict zone.
“We don’t have a peace there. What we have is relative calm, this is a war, and I would ask you to use the term ‘war’ and not to use the phrase ‘ceasefire violation’ because, in effect, we don’t have a ceasefire anymore,” Hovannisian told reporters.
“Today the adversary is, in fact, using its entire military arsenal. There is not a single type of weapon in the Azerbaijani military that would not be brought to the frontline. Naturally, this implies more far-reaching goals than killing one or two soldiers,” Hovhannisian said
The Armenian and Azerbaijani militaries have suffered this year the largest number of casualties since a Russian-brokered truce stopped their full-scale war for Karabakh in 1994. Exchanges of mortar fire on their main frontline around the disputed territory appear to have been a daily occurrence in recent months.
Fighting there intensified further on the eve of last Saturday’s meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents held in Bern, Switzerland. About a dozen soldiers from both sides have died over the past week. According to the Armenian military, the Azerbaijani side has started using tanks and howitzers for the first time since 1994.
Hovannisian described the Azerbaijani recourse to increasingly heavy artillery as a “desperate step” resulting from Baku’s failure to gain a strategic advantage over the Armenian side. “Why have they switched to tank and howitzer fire?” he said. “Because during previous incidents they killed one or two Armenian soldiers but got a tougher response. We didn’t let them do more. They failed to reach their overall objective.”