Azerbaijan warns Armenia against targeting its gas pipelines
Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of attempting to target its gas and oil pipelines and warned of a “severe” response as tensions increased around a fraying ceasefire in the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia responded by saying Azeri forces intended to seize control of the small territory in the South Caucasus, which is governed by ethnic Armenians, and additionally accused Azerbaijan and its ally Turkey of “aggression” in spite of Saturday’s ceasefire deal.
The angry rhetoric caused Russia to appeal again for both countries to abide by the humanitarian ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is internationally recognized as being part of Azerbaijan.
However, Moscow and Turkey also exchanged recriminations over the fighting which has thus far killed more than 500 innocent people.
Fears are growing that these regional powers could be sucked into a serious conflict which is being fought near Azeri pipelines that carry gas and oil to international markets.
“Armenia is trying to attack and take control of our pipelines,” Ilham Aliyev, Azeri President, stated in a recent interview with Turkish broadcaster Haberturk.
“If Armenia tries to take control of the pipelines there, I can say that the outcome will be severe for them,” he added.
Azerbaijan’s defense ministry also stated that it would destroy all Armenian military facilities which hit Azeri civilian locations.
The Armenian defense ministry has adamantly denied accusations regarding firing on civilian targets, yet stated that it reserved the right to hit any military installations and combat movements in Azerbaijan.
It announced on Wednesday that Azerbaijan had opened fire on the territory of Armenia and destroyed military apparatus.
During a televised speech after Aliyev spoke, Nikol Pashinyan, Armenian Prime Minister, commented that the situation in the conflict area was “very difficult” and also that Azerbaijan and Turkey did not intend “to stop their aggression”.
Azerbaijan was attempting to take Nagorno-Karabakh, he added, using similar language to Azeri leaders that say Armenian forces are occupying the territory.