Caucasus Reality 3 december — 15:22

Azerbaijan launched offensive, Armenians gather tanks (Before Sargsyan's eyes)

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BY FARHAD MAMMADOV

Yesterday, the Armenian occupation forces conducted large-scale military exercises in the occupied Fuzuli and Jabrail districts of Azerbaijan. The course of the exercises was observed personally by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.

These are not the first exercises of the occupation forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. However, if earlier they were carried out by the so-called 'NKR' army, now the Armenian army officially joined them. Tanks and other military equipment with Armenian flags were seen in Azerbaijani territories.

The commander of this joint group of troops, Tigran Parvanyan, said that according to the scenario of the exercises, the enemy breaks the front line, and the joint army must stop the offensive, go over to the counteroffensive and destroy the enemy.

'All types of troops and hundreds of units of military equipment were involved in the exercises. This is the first such large-scale exercise of the joint group,' he said.

Chief of the General Staff of Armenia Movses Hakobyan also confirmed that the Armenian army and the forces of the Karabakh separatists took part in the exercises for the first time. According to him, the command is working out the development of events in case of the offensive of the Azerbaijani army.

When analysing the video frames distributed by the Armenian media from the exercises in Nagorno-Karabakh, it becomes clear that the Armenian side did not use any new types of weapons. The exercises involved the same old tanks T-72, BMP-2 and the hard-moving military vehicles GAZ-53. The so-called joint grouping of the Armenian troops cannot be compared to any armada that Azerbaijan regularly uses during the military exercises. 'Joint grouping' is not comparable in strength even with Azerbaijani troops stationed in Nakhchivan alone.

On the other hand, in April 2016 the Azerbaijani army swept away the defensive line of the Armenian army within only a few hours. Attempts of a tank counterattack by the Armenian army in the southern direction were drowned. With the use by the Azerbaijani army of Spike systems, Armenians lost 16 tanks in one day.

Since then, the Azerbaijani army has been strengthened by the shipment of Russian missile systems 'Chrysanthemum-S,' Israeli armoured vehicles Sandcat equipped with Spike missiles. In addition, Azerbaijani helicopters have been equipped with anti-tank missiles of Israeli production for a long time. All this leaves no chance for the enemy's obsolete military equipment, even if the flag of Armenia is hung on it.

The Armenian leadership can nothide its serious concern with the regular exercises of the Azerbaijani army and therefore put forward a 'joint group' in the south-east direction. These are the two most optimal directions for the tank offensive of the Azerbaijani army.

In addition, Serzh Sargsyan tries to make it clear that in case of an offensive by the Azerbaijani army, Armenia will transfer additional troops to Karabakh. But it was so in April 2016 too. To hide all this under the name of 'joint grouping' does not make sense, because Azerbaijan never forgets that it is Armenia standing behind occupation of its territory.

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