The air defense units of the Artsakh Defense Army downed an Azerbaijani Orbiter unmanned aerial vehicle—drone—as it entered Artsakh’s airspace, the Artsakh Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday. The incident took place on the same day that the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan held a video conference with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairmen.
The Artsakh Defense Ministry expressed concern that the number of flights carried out by the Azerbaijan’s air force in the areas adjacent to the line of contact between the Azerbaijani and Karabakh armed forces, which are of both educational and reconnaissance nature, has increased.
“In addition to various types of fighter jets and helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles are involved in these operations, which, unlike the first ones, often try to penetrate into the airspace of the Artsakh Republic for reconnaissance purposes,” the Artsakh Defense Ministry said in its statement.
The Artsakh Defense Ministry urged the Azerbaijani side to refrain from provocative steps and assures that any offensive action will receive a worthy response.
Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov on Tuesday held a video conference to discuss the Karabakh peace process. The video chat also included the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Igor Popov (Russia), Stéphane Visconti (France), Andrew Schofer (US), as well as with Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk. At the conclusion of the talks the parties to the conference issued a joint statement.
On Monday, Mnatsakanyan had a separate video conference with the Co-chairs to discuss Armenia’s concerns about the peace talks, with Mnatsakanyan stressing the imperative of unconditionally observing the ceasefire during the global COVID-19 pandemic
The participants exchanged views on the steps aimed at the continuity of activities under the current circumstances. In this context it was agreed to hold Tuesday’s video conference with Mammadyarov.
Ahead of his talks with Mammadyarov, Mnatsakanyan reaffirmed the position of the Armenian authorities according to which no decision relating to Artsakh can be adopted without the consent of the Artsakh people.
“The Armenian authorities do not have a mandate from the Artsakh people to represent Artsakh in the peaceful settlement negotiations of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. A few days ago the Artsakh authorities received a mandate from the people through competitive, free and democratic elections. During these two years the Republic of Armenia has always consulted with the Artsakh side, the negotiation process was discussed in detail, we are working together, the same continued with the new leadership. No decision relating to the people of Artsakh can be made without them,” said Mnatsakanyan.