Today marks the 25thanniversary of the Ring operation (Operation Koltso), as a result of which two villages in Artsakh were cleansed of Armenians.
The operation “Ring,” launched by the special police detachments (OMON) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan, with the support of the USSR Interior Ministry՛s troops in April-May, 1991 holds a peculiar place in the history of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, both for its scope and consequences.
The operation resulted in a complete devastation and destruction of more than two dozen villages of Northern Artsakh, as well as in Shahumyan, Hadrut and Shushi regions. It ended only after a month, thanks to wide publicity and condemnation both within the USSR and beyond.
But the wheels of the war were set in motion. The operation “Ring”, which stood out by its brutality and massive violations of human rights, sharply increased the level of tension in the region and shifted the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict to a plane of military actions, becoming a prelude to the subsequent full-scale aggression of Azerbaijan against Nagorno-Karabakh.
However, Azerbaijan failed to achieve its main goal – to intimidate the population of Nagorno-Karabakh and suppress their legitimate aspirations for self-determination. On the contrary, the operation “Ring” only strengthened the determination of the people of Artsakh to fight for their rights and freedoms.