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Azerbaijan Foils Armenian Sabotage Attempt, Captures Infiltrator

By Vusala Abbasova August 17, 2023

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Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry has identified the detainee as Voskanyan Gagik Ashotovich, born in 1983. / Azerbaijan Defense Ministry

The Azerbaijani military has detained a member of the Armenian armed forces sabotage-intelligence group who attempted an incursion into Azerbaijani territory.

Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry has identified the detainee as Voskanyan Gagik Ashotovich, born in 1983.

“Due to the vigilance of the Azerbaijan Army Units, with the support of firepower, the provocation of the Armenian servicemen was suppressed. As a result, one member of the sabotage group was wounded and detained by the Azerbaijani servicemen. Other members of the reconnaissance-sabotage group were forced to retreat,” the ministry reported on August 16.

According to a ministry statement, Voskanyan was found in possession of a RPK machine gun, ammunition, and military supplies at the time of his detention. During initial questioning, Voskanyan acknowledged his involvement in the 44-day war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijani military medics promptly provided immediate medical assistance to the slightly wounded Armenian infiltrator.

The detention of Voskanyan occurred amid recent instances of terrorist-sabotage activities orchestrated by the Armenian armed forces. The Armenian sabotage group attempted to carry out the recent operation using the gaps between combat positions of the Azerbaijan Army stationed in the direction of the Istisu settlement of the Kalbajar district.

Armenia and Azerbaijan had long been in conflict over the latter’s Karabakh (Garabagh) region. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia initiated a military campaign against Azerbaijan, which persisted until a ceasefire agreement was reached in 1994. As a result of the bloody war, Armenia occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories. This occupation led to the death of more than 30,000 ethnic Azerbaijanis and the expulsion of one million, as part of a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign conducted by Armenia.

On September 27, 2020, the longstanding conflict between the two countries escalated when Armenia’s forces illegally stationed in occupied Azerbaijani lands attacked military positions and civilian settlements in Azerbaijan. In response, Azerbaijani forces launched counter-attacks and liberated over 300 settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha. The war concluded with a statement signed on November 10, 2020, under which Armenia also returned the previously occupied Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan.

However, Article 5 of the declaration, which obligated Armenia to promptly withdraw its armed forces from Azerbaijani territories in conjunction with the arrival of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, still remains unfulfilled. Armenian authorities contend that the troops in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region are the so-called “defense forces” of the separatists.

Since the conclusion of the 2020 war, Armenia’s armed forces on the non-delimited state border between the two countries and illegal Armenian armed detachments stationed in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan have committed numerous violent provocations against the Azerbaijani military and civilians.