Azerbaijan must have underestimated the military preparedness of the Nagorno Karabakh Defense Army and the readiness of Armenians to oppose its aggression, Armenia’s former president Robert Kocharyan said on June 1 in his first published remarks on the April war.
“The price of the launched military operation and its growing scale were apparently getting unacceptable for Baku and the war was stopped,” the former Armenian and Karabakh leader said in an interview with his unofficial website, 2rd.am.
“I would not evaluate what happed as a victory or a defeat. Azerbaijani troops occupied a number of our positions, but did not solve a single strategic military problem. The euphoria of a military victory in Baku is absolutely groundless. At the same time, we did not regain what we lost, which does not add to our optimism regardless of the size of the loss. Besides, the human casualties during the four days of hostilities are unusually and unacceptably high for us.”
Kocharyan said that the hostilities also made it clear that “even under the disturbed military balance there is no easy military solution to the conflict.” “And this may really push the stalled negotiating process forward,” he added.
In his interview Kocharyan also described the painful reaction of the society to the fact that Azerbaijan started to exceed the Armenian side by the quality of its weaponry as “understandable”.
“It was no secret, but one thing is knowing it, and another thing is seeing it in the battlefield. The irony is that Armenia, which is a member of the [Russian-led] Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and hosts a Russian military base in its territory, noticeably yielded to the adversary by the quality of armaments,” he said. “Everyone wanted to believe that a military alliance with Russia would guarantee at least the preservation of the military balance and hence the security of Armenia and Karabakh.”
Kocharyan, who led Armenia as president in 1998-2008, went on to criticize the current leadership of Armenia for not doing enough to supply the army with the necessary technical equipment.
“It is not normal when a commander controls the course of engagement with a mobile phone, when there are no night-vision gun-sights at platoon points and there is a shortage of bullet-proof vests for mobilized personnel. It is necessary to fill all existing gaps and it is clear that work in this direction is being conducted today.”
Kocharyan also addressed the behavior of some members of the CSTO during the escalation of the conflict in April, saying that they were “not compatible with our common membership in this military alliance.”
As for the campaign against corruption and monopolies that Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan announced in the wake of the Karabakh hostilities, Kocharyan said that “the government is supposed to engage in it on a daily basis.”