Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces have anti-missile weapons capable of shooting down missiles from "Iskander" missile systems deployed in Armenia, Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov said in an interview with RIA Novosti news agency.
“As defense minister, I declare that we have a system that can shoot down these missiles. We have 50 times more missiles. I fully stand by my words. Imagine the response strike on the infrastructure and military targets [of Armenia], if they [Armenian Armed Forces] decide to use them [the missiles]!?”
He went on to say that the "Iskander" missile system is good, but there are several questions.
“First, what type of Iskander missile system is it? There are many types of them. Second, in what condition is this "Iskander" missile system? Third, who manages this system? The fourth question is whether they [Armenian Armed Forces] will be able to use it.”
“We, as military people, always consider the worst option, and we are ready for it,” he said.
Zakir Hasanov added that though the missiles he was speaking about were purchased not in Russia, their quality is not worse.
He noted that Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces held military drills and combat shooting, adding that the result was excellent.
“We are confident that we will be able to protect our settlements and armed forces,” he said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.