Heavy fighting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh is unlikely to resume soon, the commander of Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army, Lieutenant-General Levon Mnatsakanian, said on Monday.
“No, tension will not rise [on the frontlines,]” Mnatsakanian told journalists in Stepanakert. “We have actually registered a decrease in it.”
Mnatsakanian claimed that the Azerbaijani army has adopted a defensive posture after launching offensive operations on April 2 at several sections of “the line of contact” around Karabakh. “They are now organizing defense,” he said. “There is an atmosphere of fear on their side.”
“Our forces are now on high alert and will fight back if need be,” added the Defense Army chief.
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian warned as recently as on April 24 that large-scale hostilities in Karabakh could again break out “at any moment.” He said Armenia will therefore not hold fresh peace talks with Azerbaijan unless the latter agrees to safeguards against ceasefire violations proposed by international mediators.
The Karabakh Armenian army reported last week a “build-up and active movements of enemy troops at various sections of the frontline.” Armenia’s Defense Ministry likewise said that Baku deployed more troops and military hardware there.
Mnatsakanian downplayed the reported buildup, saying that his troops are prepared for any development.