Stepanakert Bombing Threat: Karabakh military reacts to Azeri DM’s remarks

Nagorno-Karabakh’s Defense Ministry has responded in strong terms to Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov’s statement in which he threatened Stepanakert with bombings.

In remarks issued on Monday, Hasanov said Azerbaijan’s army was ready to deliver strikes against the Karabakh capital and other towns “if Armenian forces did not stop their military operations soon.”

In a statement later on Monday, Nagorno-Karabakh’s Defense Ministry warned Hasanov personally and his “supreme” [President Ilham Aliyev] that “in the event of such developments the [Karabakh] reaction will be disproportionate and more painful [for Azerbaijan].”

Earlier, official Yerevan also condemned Azerbaijan’s policy of targeting civilians in the ongoing hostilities.

In his speech to diplomats representing OSCE member states on Monday, President Serzh Sargsyan said: “From the first hours of the hostilities, the adversary also targeted civilians. Schoolchildren were killed and wounded in the school yard; elderly people were viciously killed in their homes – all of them peaceful residents, including a 92-year-old woman.”

Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan also addressed attacks on civilians in his remarks.

“Azerbaijan violates the international humanitarian law and international human rights law, particularly, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Additional Protocols of 1977, 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Kocharyan said.

“In the village of Talish of the Martakert region of Artsakh, the Azerbaijani soldiers tortured, maimed and killed three members of the Khalapyan family, the eldest of which was Marusya Khalapyan, born in 1924. It is impossible to find any justification for such barbarism towards civilians. The actions of the Azerbaijani army are violating the abovementioned conventions, customary law on war, as well as are beyond any civilizational elementary norms. The masterminds and perpetrators of such hideous crimes should be brought to justice,” he concluded.