Special Briefing: Azerbaijan Launches Attack on Armenia Proper

By ANC-AU | Wednesday, 17 November 2021

CANBERRA: The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) has updated Federal, State and Local Government legislators, media, academics and community leaders after Azerbaijan launched a large-scale attempt to invade territories within the sovereign borders of Armenia, attacking the country's eastern border in what was the most major breach of the one-year-old ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia following Baku's occupation of Artsakh.

The following is the text of the ANC-AU's SPECIAL BRIEFING, titled "Azerbaijan Launches Attack on Armenia Proper".


Dear readers,

The Republic of Azerbaijan launched a large-scale attempt to invade territories within the sovereign borders of the Republic of Armenia, attacking the country's eastern border in what was the most major breach of the one-year-old ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia following Baku's occupation of the self-determined Armenian Republic of Artsakh.

The attempted incursion resulted in several casualties, with reports indicating 15 dead Armenian servicemen, five injured and a further 12 captured by Azerbaijan forces before Russia again stepped in to mediate what is an increasingly fragile ceasefire.

Armenia's Ministry of Defence reported that Azerbaijani forces began shelling multiple Armenian defensive positions along the border of the Syunik region at approximately 1:00 PM, Tuesday (local time). This is the latest aggression initiated by petro-dictator, Ilham Aliyev, whose family has ruled over Azerbaijan for several decades and is responsible for the most significant ethnic cleansing of ancestral Armenian lands since the Armenian Genocide of 1915. 

In response, the Armenian forces launched retaliatory actions and both sides have confirmed the use of armoured vehicles, artillery and mortars in the course of the subsequent fighting.

Residents of Ishkhanasar, Noravan, Aghitu and Sisian in Syunik reported hearing the sounds of shooting, according to the Human Rights Defender of Armenia, Dr. Arman Tatoyan.

After five hours of continuous attacks by Azerbaijani forces, a ceasefire was mediated by Russia. The attacks follow several days of escalated tensions along the border as Baku attempts to shore up its invasion of Armenian territories deliberately targeting the only road that connects Artsakh to its only source of survival, Armenia.

Following the incursion, Armenian officials appealed to Russia and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to protect its territorial integrity. Secretary of the Security Council, Armen Grigoryan stated: "Since there’s been an attack on the sovereign territory of Armenia, we are applying to Russia with a call to defend Armenia’s territorial integrity within the framework of the existing treaty between Armenia and Russia of 1997 and within the framework of the logic of implementing mutual obligations as part of the treaty.”

The Armenian Ministry for Foreign Affairs also released a  statement calling on Russia, the CSTO and the OSCE Minsk Group to demand the “unconditional and complete withdrawal of the Azerbaijani armed forces from the territory of the Republic of Armenia”. The Foreign Ministry emphasised that Armenia has “all the rights to repel the use of force against its territorial integrity and sovereignty by all means” under the UN Charter.

Leaders in the international community and European Union have called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to end the border clashes.

The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group also released a statement calling on “the sides to take concrete steps to deescalate the situation immediately”. EU chief Charles Michel similarly issued a “call for urgent de-escalation and full ceasefire” on Twitter, writing that the “EU is committed to working with partners to overcome tensions for a prosperous and stable South Caucasus”.

United States House Intelligence Committee Chair, Congressman Adam Schiff urged his country;s State Department to act immediately to use every diplomatic channel and lever available to avoid another mass humanitarian disaster and show our unwavering support for the Armenian people and their sovereignty.

“I am deeply disturbed by today’s reports of Azerbaijani forces attacking Armenian soldiers at the border, including the reported murder or illegal detainment of more than two dozen Armenian soldiers,” Rep. Schiff said in a Facebook post.

“This unprovoked attack is in direct violation of Azerbaijan and Armenia’s ceasefire agreement, and a grave reminder that the United States must be doing everything we can to deter Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression,” he added.

Congressional Armenian Caucus founding Co-Chair, Frank Pallone Jr. also condemned Azerbaijani attacks on Armenia, calling for the immediate US and international diplomatic action to stop the onslaught, which has resulted in human losses.

“Azerbaijan’s escalation of violence on Armenian soil is unacceptable. This increase of deadly violence against Armenia will only continue unless the US Mission to the OSCE, the State Department and the international community take immediate and decisive diplomatic action,” Rep. Pallone said in a Twitter post.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde, who is the current OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, expressed her full support for the Minsk Group Co-Chairs' statement over the Armenian-Azerbaijani border tensions and the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh).

“I share the deep concern of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs regarding reported incidents in the region, including those along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. I express my full support for their efforts and call on the sides to de-escalate immediately and take steps to resolve the outstanding issues,” Linde said in a Twitter post.

France also expressed its deep concern at the deterioration of the security situation in “several segments of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the alleged use of heavy weapons”, which have claimed lives, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Earlier on Tuesday, during a telephone conversation between the presidents of Russia and Iran, Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi, the sides were firm on maintaining the current geopolitical order in the region.

“Any change in the geopolitical situation and the borders of the countries of the region is unacceptable,” the sides said, according to the Iranian president’s press office.

During an extraordinary session of the Security Council on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan called upon the international community to condemn continued violations of the territorial integrity of Armenia by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, which have occupied 41 square kilometres of Armenian territory since May. 

“There is no border dispute. There is an act of aggression against Armenia’s sovereign territory,” he said.  “If the problem was a border dispute, Azerbaijan would have long ago accepted our offer to withdraw its soldiers from the Soviet Armenia-Azerbaijan border, deploy international observers and start border demarcation and delimitation.”

Australia has remained largely silent, and the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) has urged that silence or neutrality in such a situation of injustice signals complicity in the aggressive and oppressive actions of Azerbaijan petro-dictatorship.

"The Armenian-Australian community calls upon Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne to uphold Australia's integrity and values for human rights and the right to life," said ANC-AU Executive Director, Haig Kayserian.

Click here for the SPECIAL BRIEFING in full.