Armenia PM Accuses Azerbaijan of Plotting “Full Scale War” Against Armenia

What’s Happening

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan delivered a statement in which he accused Azerbaijan of sabotaging peace processes “with the prospect of turning the military escalation into a full-scale war against the Republic of Armenia”.

The PM’s statement comes after four Armenian border guards were killed in an Azeri attack on Armenian border positions on February 13th. Azerbaijan’s border service said the attack was carried out as a “revenge operation”, after accusing Armenian border guards of firing upon Azeri border positions the day prior on February 12th, which they said killed one Azeri border guard.

Armenia’s Ministry of Defence published a statement denying the February 12th attack, and accused the Azeri government of “spreading disinformation”, adding that the Azeri claim “does not align with reality”.


Two Armenian Soldiers (Photo by Vardan Petrosyan)

Regardless of the MoD’s denial, the Military Police of Armenia announced that it was launching an investigation into the incident, with an order in place not to allow any violations of the ceasefire, and to not “give in to provocations”. PM Pashinyan stated that “if it is found that there is a violation of the order, there will also be legal consequences”.

PM Pashinyan added that the Azeri reaction to the incident “shows that Azerbaijan’s intentions remain the same: to pursue a policy of military coercion against the Republic of Armenia”.

A Full Scale War

Continuing on, PM Pashinyan began talking about persistent issues arising from border demarcation. Presently, Azerbaijan occupies around 215km2 of Armenian internationally recognized territory, PM Pashinyan claims 31 different villages, which they have seized through a series of attacks spread out across the last few years.

PM Pashinyan accuses Azerbaijan of seeking to demarcate the borders with the occupied regions being within Azeri territory, which he says is “not a constructive position”.

Our position on this situation is very constructive. We say that in order for the troops to move back from their current positions, it is necessary to reproduce the Armenia-Azerbaijan border on the map and on the ground, and to withdraw the troops of the two countries to the border line. That is, after the reproduction of the border, if it turns out that there are troops ahead of that line, both sides should withdraw. In other words, if there are troops from both sides ahead of the border line, they will have to retreat to the already demarcated border. Official Baku is trying to formulate this situation in such a way that the Azerbaijani troops do not retreat from the territories of 31 villages of Armenia in any way. This is not a constructive position” -PM Pashinyan

Armenia is seeking to establish the two nations borders based on the 1991 Alma-Ata declaration, which established the borders of the two countries amidst the fall of the Soviet Union. PM Pashinyan stated that, pertaining to the demarcation process, “there are two options: first, we carry out demarcation along the entire border and proceed to its implementation. The second option is that we divide the border into pieces and proceed with the demarcation piece by piece. And, in fact, both options are acceptable to us”.

However, he accused Azerbaijan of avoiding these options, the latter of which (demarcation piece by piece) was suggested by Azerbaijan in the first place. He further adds that “our analysis shows that there may be one reason for this, and that reason may be, for example, the start of military operations in some parts of the border, with the prospect of turning the military escalation into a full-scale war against the Republic of Armenia”.


PM Pashinyan speaking to journalists during a press conference in May, 2023 (Photo from primeminister.am).

Escalating Rhetoric

The PM’s statements come amidst a particular uptick in Azeri rhetoric and territorial claims towards Armenia. Azerbaijan has laid claim to a series of villages within Armenia’s Syunik province, and made repeated calls for the ‘Zangezur Corridor’, a corridor that would go through Armenia and connect the bulk of Azerbaijan with the Nakhchivan exclave, which lies south west of Armenia.


Azeri President Ilham Aliyev tours Azerbaijan’s “War Park” in 2021. The helmets on display were taken from Armenian soldiers killed in the 2020 44-Day war (Photo from the Azerbaijan Presidential Office).

Recently, in a TV interview, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev continually referred to Armenia as “Western Azerbaijan”, and even went so far as to claim that Yerevan itself was an “ancient Azerbaijani city” that was given to the Armenians by Stalin.

Typically prior to Azeri military operations is an increase in territorial claims made by Azerbaijan, leading some to fear the potential of a renewed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.

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