Artsakh authorities reported that three police officers were killed after Azerbaijani armed forces ambushed their vehicle near an area called Khaipalu at around 10 a.m. local time Sunday.
The Artsakh Information Center released footage of the incident showing how the Azerbaijani group approached that road and the police vehicles, which was en route to Stepanakert.
After killing the police officers, the Azerbaijani troops retreat to their positions, incurring losses.
The video then shows Russian peacekeepers arriving at the site of the incident. The Azerbaijani side then retrieves the bodies of its soldiers with the mediation of the Russian side.
The killed officers were identified as Lieutenant Armen Babayan, Major David Danielyan and Lieutenant Ararat Gasparyan.
Another office, Lieutenant David Hovsepyan, received a gunshot wound in the chest and was taken to the Republican Medical Center.
The Artsakh Foreign Ministry called on the international community to take effective measure under international law to stop what it called Azerbaijan’s “the terrorist and genocidal policy.”
“The infiltration of the Azerbaijani sabotage group into the territory of Artsakh and the attack on Artsakh police officers is another flagrant violation of the Trilateral Statement of November 9, 2020, which indicates that the Azerbaijani side is seeking to initiate an escalation of tension,”said the Artsakh foreign ministry in a statement issued on Sunday.
The statement also references attacks by Azerbaijani forces on Artsakh civilians on Thursday and Friday in the Askeran, Martakert and Martuni regions, which were also confirmed by the Russian Defense Ministry, whose peacekeeping forces are deployed in Artsakh.
The attacks last week, as well as the ambush operation on Sunday followed talks on Wednesday by Azerbaijani and Artsakh representatives to address the ongoing Azerbaijani blockade of the Lachin Corridor.
“Through its actions, Baku is openly demonstrating its rejection of negotiations as a means of finding solutions to any issues,” the Artsakh foreign ministry said.
“Against the backdrop of the more than 80-day blockade of Artsakh, aimed at deliberately creating unbearable living conditions for its people, a serious escalation of the situation, resulting in casualties, once again demonstrates the true objectives of Azerbaijan and its intention to complete the ethnic cleansing of Artsakh,” said the statement.
“Apparently, the lack of adequate measures on the part of the international community aimed at stopping the internationally wrongful acts of Azerbaijan was perceived by the authorities of this country as a carte blanche to commit new atrocities,” the Artsakh foreign ministry added.
“We once again call on the international community as a whole, and the parties involved in the settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict in particular, to reconsider their approaches and take effective measures under international law to stop the terrorist and genocidal policy of Azerbaijan,” the statement said.
Armenia’s foreign ministry called for the immediate dispatch of an international fact-finding mission to the Lachin Corridor and Nagorno-Karabakh, a call made by the Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan during his meetings in New Delhi, India last week.
The Azerbaijani authorities claimed that the vehicle that was attacked was carrying illegal weapons from Armenia. The Artsakh and Armenian authorities rejected the allegation.
“The facts prove that this provocation was pre-planned and instructed by the highest leadership of Azerbaijan. After the ambush, Azerbaijan’s official bodies spread disinformation alleging that they received reports that weapons, ammunition and personnel are being transferred from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh and acted on these,” said a statement issued by Armenia’s foreign ministry on Sunday.
“The official version of events put forward by Azerbaijan is absurd: they have not presented and cannot present any fact and justification supporting that version. This happens less than two weeks after the decision of the International Court of Justice that wholly rejected Azerbaijan’s absurd claims on the alleged laying of landmines by Armenia,” added Yerevan.
“The actions of the Azerbaijani forces cannot be described as anything other than terrorism. In conjunction with the blocking the Lachin corridor and creating a humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh for almost three months, Azerbaijan continues to terrorize the Armenians of Artsakh by creating inhumane conditions for living in their homeland with the ultimate goal of ethnic cleansing,” added the Armenian foreign ministry.
“It is worth noting that after the International Court of Justice on February 22 granted Armenia’s request to apply a provisional measure against Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani side not only did not take steps toward the implementation of the legally binding decision of the Court but committed new crimes against Armenians of Artsakh, including civilians,” Yerevan pointed out in its statement.
“The Republic of Armenia calls on the international community, countries and international organizations interested in the establishment of real peace in our region to strongly condemn the use of force and the threat of force by Azerbaijan, as well as another manifestation of provoking large-scale hostilities and take active steps to prevent further violations of Azerbaijan’s own international obligations,” said the statement, which also called into question “Baku’s sincerity regarding the establishment of peace and stability in the region.”
“Under current circumstances, sending an international fact-finding mission to the Lachin corridor and Nagorno-Karabakh becomes a vital necessity,” Armenia’s foreign ministry stressed.