Igor Korotchenko: "Bombing of Azerbaijani cities, targeting civilians is international war crime" - INTERVIEW
- 06 October 2020
Interview of Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of Russia's National Defense Journal, well-known military expert, retired colonel, to APA's Moscow correspondent.
The leader of the separatist organization called "NKR" must be brought to justice within the Hague tribunal "
Igor Yuryevich, what do you think is the main purpose of the Armenian Armed Forces targeting cities, civilian objects and civilians far from the line of contact in Azerbaijan?
I think that Armenia has a goal. Yerevan seeks to provoke Azerbaijan to take a similar response and then convince Russia that it has been attacked by Azerbaijan. Therefore, Armenia's goal is provocative. Regardless of the intensity and severity of military operations, cities and civilians should not be subjected to military strikes. This is required by international law, the Geneva Convention. I would like to remind you that in one of his statements, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev emphasized that Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh today are Azerbaijani citizens. Official Baku stated that it guaranteed the security of the Armenians after the liberation of the occupied territories and their transfer to the control of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. In addition, the Azerbaijani military leadership has stated its readiness to provide a corridor for the Armenian civilian population to leave the war zone. Azerbaijan has taken responsibility for protecting the humanitarian rights of these Armenians and is doing so. Unfortunately, the leader of the so-called "NKR" called for strikes on Azerbaijani cities. His statement and call were public. Of course, this is an international war crime. I think that the "NKR" leader should be held accountable for such calls within the framework of the international military tribunal in The Hague.
"Regardless of where the missiles are fired from, Yerevan bears military and political responsibility for it."
Do you think it is possible to prove that the missiles fired at Ganja, Barda, Khizi and Absheron were fired from the territory of Armenia?
First, the fact that Azerbaijani cities were hit from the territory of Armenia can be proved by technical intelligence. This is possible with the help of radar and video recording devices. Let's not forget that even if missiles are fired from the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, the troops of the Armenian Armed Forces are stationed in that area. Not only Armenian armed forces, but also the regular Armenian army are fighting with Azerbaijan in the occupied territories. The Armenian side officially announces that the Minister of Defense and a number of other high-ranking Armenian officials are in charge of military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh. This shows that the Armenian Armed Forces are fighting against Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh. This once again shows the military presence of Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. It is Armenia that coordinates and conducts military operations. Therefore, no matter where the blows are inflicted on the cities of Azerbaijan, whether from the territories controlled by the separatists or from the territory of Armenia, therefore, Yerevan bears direct military and political responsibility.
What will be the position of official Moscow on the bombing of Azerbaijani cities and civilians?
As you can see, Russia has taken an equal distance from the beginning of military operations. We call for a political-diplomatic solution to the conflict. However, it is clear that political diplomacy will not work in the coming days. As Azerbaijan regains control of new territories, then we can talk about the preconditions for peace talks. But in this case, Russia is extremely interested in resolving the conflict through political and diplomatic means. I reiterate that Russia takes a neutral position on this issue in order to maintain the role of arbitrator in resolving the conflict.
"Azerbaijani military command protects soldiers' lives, fulfills tasks step by step"
As a military expert, how would you comment on the progress of military operations to liberate Azerbaijani lands from occupation? Some Russian so-called experts say that the Azerbaijani army has not yet achieved any success.
It is clear that military operations are taking place in the mountains, where Armenia and the Armenian military units have formed a full line of defense for decades. Long-term engineering fortifications have been built here, and excellent defensive positions have been organized. Therefore, it is impossible to achieve success here in a short time. Of course, the Azerbaijani military command protects the lives of soldiers. More and more remote-controlled weapons, unmanned aerial vehicles - drones, rocket launchers, self-propelled howitzers are used. Regularly, step by step, the Azerbaijani army fulfills its tasks. In this case, we already see the success of the Azerbaijani army. These successes are materialized in the form of controlled territories, settlements, strategic heights. I would like to draw attention to another issue. I observe the quiet rhetoric of the Azerbaijani leadership. I am closely following the speeches of the leadership of both Armenia and Azerbaijan. When you look at the rhetoric of the military on both sides, you see that there is no insult to the rhetoric of the Azerbaijani military. The statements of the Azerbaijani military leadership are short, concise, and most importantly, non-insulting and hysterical. It is known that only the strong side behaves in this way. On the Armenian side, to put it mildly, we see threatening, shouting, and hysterical statements. It seems to me that in serious matters such as war, the parties must have internal dignity. Confidence and inner dignity are synonymous with honesty. We see such a calm and confident position in the political and military leadership of Azerbaijan. "