Pashinian said that Baku has failed to “solve any strategic issue” with its “unprecedented” offensive launched on September 27.
“Victory and only victory is the outcome which we imagine at the end of this fight,” Pashinian declared in a live televised address. “Already today, hours ago, the Defense Army of Artsakh (Karabakh) carried out active counteroffensive operations and achieved substantial successes, crushing several units of the enemy’s special forces.”
“Through joint efforts we must break the attacking enemy’s spine so that it never again stretches its criminal hands towards,” he said.
Pashinian charged that Azerbaijan wants to not only regain control over Karabakh but also exterminate its ethnic Armenian population. “We are probably living through the most decisive phase of our millennia-old history,” he said.
Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army reported in the morning that Azerbaijani forces went on a fresh offensive at northern and southern sections of the “line of contact” around Karabakh, the epicenters of the week-long hostilities. It also accused them of again shelling the capital Stepanakert.
The Defense Army claimed to have killed hundreds of Azerbaijani soldiers, destroyed dozens of tanks and armored vehicles and shot down three warplanes in the following hours.
Shushan Stepanian, a spokeswoman for Armenia’s Defense Ministry, said early in the afternoon that Karabakh troops have repelled the “large-scale” offensive and launched a “counteroffensive in one of the directions.” She did not give details.
In another statement issued at around 6 p.m., the Karabakh Armenian army said its frontline troops are “successfully accomplishing combat tasks set for them.” The statement came shortly after Pashinian’s televised speech.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in the morning that “fierce fighting is continuing along the entire frontline.” The ministry said its forces are dealing “crushing blows” to the enemy.
The Karabakh army also reported on Saturday 51 more combat deaths within its ranks. The total number of Armenian soldiers killed in action since September 27 thus rose to 201.
The Azerbaijani military has still not released any combat casualty numbers.
The hostilities continued unabated despite international efforts to restore the ceasefire regime in the Karabakh conflict zone and pave the way for renewed peace negotiations.
In an interview with Al Jazeera aired on Saturday, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev blamed Pashinian for the collapse earlier this year of Armenian-Azerbaijani talks mediated by the United States, Russia and France.
Aliyev claimed that Pashinian proved more intransigent than Armenia’s former leaders. “We do not yet have a negotiating partner in Armenia,” he said.
Pashinian claimed the opposite, saying that Aliyev was not prepared for “mutual concessions” and never reciprocated his repeated statements to the effect that that a Karabakh settlement must be “acceptable to the peoples of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Karabakh.”