Hiding behind its own population, Baku grossly violates norms of international law – Artsakh DM

Artsakh defense army has never acted as the initiator of the attack, but it is always ready to take retaliatory steps to pacify any provocative action of the enemy, Artsakh Defense Minister says.

“The Defense Army of Artsakh never choses peaceful settlements as targets,” Defense Minister Levon Mnatsakanyan said in a response to Azeri accusations of shelling a peaceful settlement and killing civilians on July 4.

“The military facilities, from where the enemy is firing the Armenian positions have been and will continue to be the target of our attacks,” the Defense Minister said in comments to Interfax agency.

“It is unfortunate that the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan considers it natural to place its fire installations in peaceful settlements, and the practice of carrying out offensive actions from these firing points towards Artsakh positions,” he continued.

“Hiding behind its own population and turning it into a living target, the enemy grossly violates the norms of international law. If the death of civilians did take place, we regret it,” Levon Mnatsakanyan said.

“I declare with full responsibility that, as always, the Artsakh Armed Forces will continue to exercise their right to defense and, if necessary, deliver a targeted and disproportionate response to the offensive actions of the enemy, the Defense Minister said.

At the same time, he advised the Azerbaijani side to refrain from further military adventure, fraught with unpredictable consequences, and urged to seek a solution to the issue at the negotiation table,”especially considering that such approach meets the interests of two peoples.”

The Azerbaijan Defense Ministry said woman and a child were killed and another civilian was wounded and accused the Armenian side of shelling residential areas.

Nagorno-Karabakh’s refuted the reports, saying it had to return fire after the Azeri forces  violated the ceasefire agreement, opened fire first and used anti-tank and other heavy weapons.  The Defense Ministry released videos that come to prove the assertion.

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