Artsakh Defense Chief Outlines Security Priorities

Artsakh Defense Minister Samvel Mnatsakanyan
Artsakh Defense Minister Samvel Mnatsakanyan

Artsakh Defense Minister Samvel Mnatsakanyan

STEPANAKERT—The Artsakh Army is prepared and will launch counter offensives and expand the existing security zone should Azerbaijan wage a new attack on its borders, Artsakh Defense Minister Levon Mnatsakanyan told Armenia Public Television’s “Off the Agenda” program on Saturday.

“In the event of a new attack we will inflict a crushing blow to the enemy forces and certainly undertake counter-offensive actions. We will expand the width and the depth of the existing security zone during those counter-offensive actions. The few positions that came under Azerbaijani control in April 2016, will definitely be retaken,” Mnatsakanyan said.

Speaking of Azerbaijan’s policy to use its civilian population as a human shield during attacks on Artsakh positions, Mnatsakanyan lamented the loss of civilian lives, but said that Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for any deaths during the attacks.

“I would recommend [that Azerbaijan] refrains from using civilians as a human shields and remove firing points from residential areas, since our frontline units will retaliate in case of any shelling regardless of the location of those firing positions,” said Mnatsakanyan.

The defense minister also said that efforts by Azerbaijan to infiltrate the Artsakh-Azerbaijan border have failed because of the Artsakh army’s efforts to counter them.

“The last attempt was made overnight on February 24 and 25 of this year, and we all know the outcome. They [Azerbaijanis] suffered six losses with five of them being left on the field and another one severely wounded who died afterward in the hospital. After that incident attempts to infiltrate the border have ceased,” added Mnatsakanyan, who said that efforts were also under way to reduce sniper attacks along the border, known as the Line of Contact.

Mnatsakanyan also discussed arms acquisitions by Azerbaijan, saying that the balance of power between Armenia and Azerbaijan never shifted and will never change amid Azerbaijani reports of new arms purchases.


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  1. Edward Demiraiakian said:

    Azerbaijan has a hereditary dictatorship that like all others is desperate to retain its power. Even for dictatorships, the Alyevs are incredibly brazen robbers of the public treasury. The ownership of all the Gold mines in Azerbaijan by Ilham’s Alyevs underage daughter, the multi Billion dollar overseas real estate holdings by various Alyev family members are but few examples. All the whille, the average Azery are scraping by.
    This son of a KGB general, must have bought the whole book on Mussolini. Every Human rights agency has condemned, Azerbaijan, as it becomes more and more terrifying. Azerbaijan has oil, and it has greased its way in every US government agency. They could do no wrong.
    And for that reason, it is wrong for us to play the victim, and whinne to the world about how good and what victims we are. The world does not respect the innocent. The world respects the brave, the brash, the daring.
    If Armenia and Artsack were to retaliate and take all of Shahumian, to the Kura and beyond to the Russian border, opening a corridor to Russia and gain control over a major portion of the Oil pipeline, what would happen?
    Fefteen minutes of lip flapping at the UN, US and Russia would make some vague “peace on earth” statements, and that would be it. If we let the oil flow, we’ll get money, (transit fees) lots of money. If the Azerys shut it down, the world will be mad at them. It’s called negociating from strength.

    • joe said:

      The Azeri oil lines have major powers who have invested lots of money. Understand that when you should decide to destroy the oil lines, these players are not going to sit idle. You destroy them as last resort.

  2. Raffi said:

    Cowardly Azeris will continue killing on the contact line using snipers, they don’t have the balls to go to a all out war.

  3. Raffi said:

    Invade or burn the Oil fields, today’s corrupt world functions with money, without Oil money nobody will be interested in Azerbaijan.