and in light of the tense situation in the region and increased combat readiness in connection with possible provocations of the Armenian side, the duty combat crew decided to open fire to kill.”
The seizure of Shushi, which Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev claimed Sunday and was confirmed by Nagorno-Karabakh’s presidential spokesman Monday, gave Azerbaijan a significant strategic advantage. The city is positioned on heights overlooking the regional capital of Stepanakert, 10 kilometers to the north.
“Unfortunately, we are forced to admit that a series of failures still haunt us, and the city of Shushi is completely out of our control,” Vagram Pogosian, a spokesman for the president of the government in Nagorno-Karabakh, said in a statement on Facebook. “The enemy is on the outskirts of Stepanakert.”
Since the 1994 end of the previous war, international mediation efforts by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s “Minsk Group” to determine the region’s final status faltered and the region was separated from the rest of Azerbaijan by a demilitarised zone.
Aliyev on Monday urged United States President-elect Joe Biden to intensify mediation efforts. In a congratulatory letter to Biden on his election victory, Aliev said, “Azerbaijan expects the United States and other OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to step up their efforts to find a just solution to the conflict.”
Armenia says more than 1,200 Armenian troops have been killed in the war. Azerbaijan hasn’t stated its losses.