Azerbaijan’s defense ministry claimed on Wednesday to have successfully conducted a “Revenge” operation following the death of an Azerbaijani soldier, securing control of several locations in the mountains of its Nagorno-Karabakh region that Armenian irregular forces allegedly sought to take control of.
Following the operation, Baku now claims to be in control of the Girkhgiz and Saribaba heights in the Karabakh ridge of the Lesser Caucasus mountains, as well as several other “important commanding heights”. The Azerbaijani military is now said to be constructing outposts in these locations, as well as building supply roads for the outposts.
The operation was launched after Baku identified an Azerbaijani soldier killed after Azerbaijani positions in Lachin reportedly came under small arms fire on Wednesday morning. Kazimov Anar Rustam was fatally shot in what the Defence Ministry described as a “terrorist provocation” by irregular forces fighting for the internationally unrecognized Republic of Artsakh, which previously controlled much of Nagorno-Karabakh prior to a war in 2020 that saw Baku retake much of the region.
Baku claims to have destroyed several fighting positions used by the irregular forces, and released drone targeting footage of a missile strike on militia trucks towing D-30 howitzers in what is said to be the Yukhari Oratagh settlement of the former Aghdara district. In addition to the destruction of the trucks and the howitzers they were towing, it is claimed that “dozens” of “illegal militants” were killed or wounded, alongside the destruction of ammunition stored at the target.
A spokesperson for the Artsakh Defense Army claims that two of its servicemen were killed by Azerbaijani fire, with an additional 14 wounded. According to the representative of the self-declared republic’s military, the situation along the line of contact between its forces and the Azerbaijani military is now “relatively stable” as of 6PM local time.
In a statement announcing the success of the operation, the Azerbaijani defense ministry once again called for the withdrawal of Armenian troops and disarmament of what it called “illegal Armenian armed elements” in Nagorno-Karabakh that was agreed to in the ceasefire that ended the 2020 war, claiming that their continued presence “remains a source of danger”. In the meantime, the ministry threatened that its retaliation to any future “provocations” would be “even more devastating”.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe chairperson Poland says it is “extremely concerned” over the fighting and casualties, urging Armenia and Azerbaijan to “take all necessary measures to bring de-escalation and resume dialogue“.