Want peace? Prepare for war: Armenia, Karabakh condemn new killings of their soldiers by Azeri snipers

The tone of Armenian statements in response to more killings of soldiers on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border has changed dramatically as there are increasingly more calls for retaliation.

Late last week, on April 28 and 29, three Armenian soldiers in Karabakh were killed and another one was wounded after being hit with Azeri sniper bullets. The latest escalation of tensions was taking place amid statements from Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov that “there is still the notion of military diplomacy.”

“This is a factor shoring up the progressive course of negotiations that has always existed and will exist,” the top Azeri diplomat stated.

The Armenian side has not yet taken any retaliatory action. At least, the Azerbaijani media do not report about any military casualties. But instead Armenian politicians have reacted strongly to these latest cases of ceasefire violations along the Karabakh-Azeri line of contact.

Also, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Army issued a statement late last week, condemning what it described as “increasingly impudent” behavior by Azerbaijan.

“The aggressive actions undertaken in the recent period by Azerbaijan along the entire line of contact in the Karabakh conflict zone once again confirm that official Baku not only fails to live up to its commitments before different international organizations over maintaining the current ceasefire, but, on the contrary, imparts a more brazen and unruly form to its actions,” the Karabakh military said.

”In any case, Azerbaijan’s illegal actions on the frontline will receive an adequate response,” stated head of the parliamentary faction of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia Galust Sahakyan.

“Every time we offer peace, hold out a hand, they spit at it. It is time we realized that we are hated across the border, this is a policy of the whole country [Azerbaijan], and there is no seeking peace there,” said Major-General Arkady Ter-Tadevosyan, a prominent Karabakh war veteran known as “Commandos”. “One has to understand that they will continue to shoot until they get a retaliatory strike.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia also issued a strong statement condemning the escalation of tensions in the conflict zone. “Azerbaijan has demonstrated that it can ignore calls from different international bodies and countries regarding ceasefire strengthening, withdrawal of snipers, confidence-building measures and settling problems only through peaceful means,” said the Armenian ministry.

According to head of the parliamentary faction of the opposition Heritage Party Stepan Safaryan, the Armenian side should give an adequate response, which, however, should not be in the military plane. He explained that in response to the provocations of Azerbaijan, Armenia should recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, to accept the jurisdiction of the international court and to turn to it with a lawsuit against Azerbaijan over its unleashing military actions, and against Turkey over its continuing blockade of Armenia. The third step, in Safaryan’s view, could be Yerevan’s temporary refusal to participate in Karabakh peace talks.

The NKR Defense Army’s information department said during the past week Azeri armed units committed about 350 ceasefire violations along the entire stretch of the line of contact, firing more than 2,700 bullets from weapons of different caliber.

Amid continuing loss of life near Karabakh, statements accusing Armenians of ceasefire violations are also routinely heard from Azerbaijan, alongside threats to resolve the conflict militarily.