Azerbaijan taking advantage of situation in Ukraine to escalate tensions on Armenia border and in Artsakh – Ambassador

Azerbaijan is taking advantage of the situation in Ukraine, trying to escalate the situation near the border with Armenia and in Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh), Armenia’s Ambassador to Greece Tigran Mkrtchyan said in an interview with TV100 Thessaloniki.

“Over the past two weeks we have seen ceasefire violations in various points, including the borders with Armenia, where a soldier was killed a few das ago. Snipers are being used against Armenian villagers. Just last night the Azerbaijani forces shelled the villages in Nagorno Karabakh, terrorizing people living there,” the Ambassador said.

He noted that Azerbaijanis are also using loudspeakers to warn people to leave the areas. He also referred to the blasting of the main gas pipeline, supplying gas to 120 000 Armenians living in Nagorno Karabakh.

Another issue the Ambassador pointed to is the destruction of cultural heritage. “Armenian have been living in Nagorno Karabakh for thousands of years, and there are a number of Armenian churches, cathedrals, architectural masterpieces there, and after the signing of the trilateral statement on November 9 the Azerbaijani side has been trying to distort or eliminate the Armenian cultural heritage wherever it’s possible,” Ambassador Mkrtchyan said.

Speaking about the prospects of Armenian-Turkish normalization, the Ambassador said “nobody is forgetting or putting aside the importance of recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but the sides have agreed to move forward without preconditions.

“There have been two meetings between special envoys, and after both meetings the Foreign Ministries of the two countries have said in press releases that the process is moving forward without preconditions. This is basically the first time Turkey has embraced this approach, which has been the line of the Armenian side for three decades. We have been saying for three decades that we are ready to negotiate the opening of the border and establishment of diplomatic relations without preconditions. It is Turkey that has been continuously putting preconditions,” Tigran Mkrtchyan said.

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