YEREVAN — Armenia and Artsakh have declared martial law and general military mobilization on Sunday following Azeri military’s large-scale aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh republic.
Shortly after the start of hostilities a uniform-clad Artsakh president Arayik Harutiunyan met in capital Stepanakert with a group of Karabakh army reservists and volunteers. “They’ve declared war? They’ll get a war,” the Karabakh leader told them in televised remarks.
Harutiunyan went on to declare martial law and a general mobilization of army reservists.
Karabakh television showed a column of tanks, artillery systems and trucks carrying soldiers moving through a local town towards a nearby section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Karabakh.
Thousands of volunteers across Armenia are visiting recruitment centers and expressing a desire to join the armed forces. “While highly appreciating the readiness of our compatriots, the Armenian Defense Ministry declares that there is no need for volunteers at the moment,” said Vahram Poghosyan, spokesman of the president.
Pashinyan Declares Martial Law
“I am calling on [reserve] personnel embedded with troops to present themselves to their territorial military commissariats,” Pashinyan wrote on his Facebook page.
The Armenian Defense Ministry said that thousands of people across Armenia have already volunteered to fight in Karabakh. It said Karabakh Armenian forces do not need such assistance yet.
“The dictatorial regime of Ilham Aliyev has once again resorted to hostilities,” Pashinyan said in a televised address to the nation later in the day. “It’s a war against the Armenian people. It’s a war against our independence, freedom and dignity.”
“The Armenian people are ready for that war because they have always been conscious of the fact that the Armenophobia and hatred with which the Azerbaijani dictatorship has for decades been feeding its people could not lead to any outcome other than war,” he said.
Pashinyan also blamed Turkey and its “aggressive behavior for the outbreak of hostilities. “I call on the international community to use all its levers to keep Turkey from any possible intervention which would further destabilize the situation in the region,” he added.
Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan issued, meanwhile, a written appeal to the nation accusing Azerbaijan of launching a large-scale offensive along the “line of contact” around Karabakh and saying that Baku will be “strictly punished” for that.
“As a guarantor of the security of Artsakh, the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia are prepared to provide any assistance to ensure the security of Artsakh’s population,” said Tonoyan.
“This adventure will have severe consequences for the enemy,” he added. “Our response will be tougher than ever before.”