Azerbaijan ready to retake Karabakh
Azerbaijan has completed major command and staff drills, which were attended by 65 thousand soldiers of the Air Forces, Air Defense, naval, missile and artillery troops. The divisions were raised on alarm and moved a distance of over 300 km.
The maneuvers almost escalated into a resumption of active hostilities over Nagorno-Karabakh, when planes of the Armenian Armed Forces, which were involved in the exercises for the deployment of hospitals and evacuation of the wounded, approached the Azerbaijani border.
The Air Forces and Air Defense of Azerbaijan spotted the enemy and forced the enemy fighters to return to the Armenian territories. Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov ordered Armenian planes to be destroyed if they crossed the border between the two countries.
The head of the Defense Ministry also ordered a response to any violation of the ceasefire regime on the contact line from the Armenian side. "If they continue to bombard our civilian population, by my order we will fire back not only on their positions, but also on settlements. We have no other way. We have repeatedly warned them about the inadmissibility of the shelling of civilians, but they do not stop shooting at peaceful people," the minister stressed.
The exercises were held on the order of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, President Ilham Aliyev, their aim was to test the readiness of the whole army of Azerbaijan. "I declare that the level of combat readiness of the Armed Forces allows us to liberate the occupied territories. I would like the enemy understand that they could end tragically. While it is not too late, they must withdraw from the occupied territories," Zakir Hasanov concluded.
The deputy director of the Political and Military Analysis Institute, Alexander Khramchikhin, stressed the high level of combat capability of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan. "I would say that, on the whole, post-Soviet Azerbaijan is second only to Russia in terms of equipping the armed forces," he told Vestnik Kavkaza.
At the same time, according to him, the probability of resumption of active hostilities over Karabakh is growing every day. "I have always believed that fighting in Karabakh will be resumed. Although it is impossible to name the exact time of the return of the war," Alexander Khramchikhin noted.
Military expert Uzeir Jafarov agreed that fighting could be resumed at any moment while the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not resolved. "The minister of defense and the generals have repeatedly declared that the army is ready, and the recent exercises have achieved their goals. I believe that these exercises will allow Armenia and the OSCE Minsk Group to understand that Azerbaijan is not going to suffer while the international structures organize fruitless meetings, 65 thousand soldiers is almost the number of all the Armed Forces of Armenia," he pointed out.
According to the expert, these exercises can be considered as a 'final rehearsal before the parade'. The 'parade' will begin when the signal is received from the Supreme Commander. Meanwhile, we do not want a lot of blood spilled in Karabakh. Armenia should understand that we are two Caucasian republics, and Armenia will not leave the Caucasus, nor will Azerbaijan. The faster the conflict is resolved peacefully, the less need there will be for the use of force," Uzeir Jafarov concluded.