The resumption of a full-scale Armenian-Azerbaijani war remains unlikely despite one of the most serious violations of the 1994 ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh registered in recent days, Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian insisted on Monday.
“The situation on the frontline is tense,” Ohanian told reporters in Yerevan. “At any moment our neighbor may undoubtedly organize provocations that could lead to war. But the president and military-political leadership of the country are doing everything to calm things down.”
“The analysis of [the events of] the last few days shows that, broadly speaking, there is still no basis for a large-scale war,” he said.
Ohanian made clear that the authorities in Armenia and Karabakh will not put their armed forces on a higher state of alert or call up reservists to deal with the escalation of tensions on the frontlines. He confirmed, though, reports that scores of Armenian veterans of the 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan are joining active duty soldiers deployed along “the line of contact” around Karabakh and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. But he insisted that the veterans are only “buoying” the frontline troops and sharing their combat experience with the latter.
Ohanian spoke after briefing the parliamentary leaders of Armenia’s main political parties, including those in opposition to President Serzh Sarkisian, on last week’s fierce fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. He said he presented Armenian soldiers’ “skillful” response to Azerbaijan’s armed “provocations.”
Citing heavy losses suffered by Azerbaijani troops near Karabakh, political analysts in Yerevan similarly asserted that Baku is unlikely to act anytime soon on its threats to forcibly resolve the conflict. “Azerbaijan is still far from being ready to launch major offensive hostilities,” said Richard Giragosian, the director of the Center for Regional Studies.
Aleksandr Iskandarian of the Yerevan-based Caucasus Institute described the Azerbaijani setbacks as a “crushing defeat” which shows that Azerbaijan has not gained a military advantage over the Armenian side. “The state of the Armenian and Karabakh and Azerbaijani armies has been vividly demonstrated,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).