Baku, Azerbaijan, May 18
Azerbaijani armed forces liberated more than 2,000 hectares of the country's territory from Armenian occupation, Azerbaijani defense ministry said in a message May 18.
Armenian leadership finally officially confirmed that it carried out an armed provocation against Azerbaijan in the country's occupied territories in early April, which resulted in changes on the contact line of troops of the two countries, the message said.
On the night of April 2, 2016, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers. The armed clashes resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-attack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements.
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.
Azerbaijani armed forces liberated important heights and territories of strategic significance in Agdere district, as well as in the Fizuli and Jabrail districts from the occupation during the counter-offensive following the enemy's attack, according to the message.
Despite the fact that the Armenian side states about the alleged loss of 800 hectares, it's obvious that the area of territories liberated by Azerbaijan is being intentionally downplayed, the defense ministry said.
In fact, the Azerbaijani armed forces freed more than 2,000 hectares of land, and even a larger area from an operational point of view came under the control of Azerbaijani armed forces, said the message.
"In contrast to the Armenian side, the Azerbaijani armed forces are not taking any steps to aggravate the situation on the contact line but are only forced to take adequate steps," the defense ministry said. "No sabotage of the enemy will remain unanswered. The figures issued by Armenia regarding casualties on the both sides in early April also don't reflect reality. Actually the losses of the Armenian armed forces are ten times higher than ours."