The former Minister of Defense of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic – Igor Strelkov – gave an interview to Russian news outlet NNA (National News Agency) on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and mistakes of the Armenian military command could lead to the final loss of the region.
The following part of the text is based on what the NNA reported of his statement:
In Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijani troops came close to the road that connects the capital of the unrecognized republic of Stepanakert with Armenia, along which the supply of the Armenian army goes.
According to the Artsakh Defense Ministry, battles are already underway near the cities of Lachin and Shusha.
Former Minister of Defense of the DPR Igor Strelkov on the air of the NSN explained that near Lachin, the operational crisis among the Armenians is not as acute as near Shusha.
“For the Azerbaijani troops there is absolutely no difference where they intercept the road between Lachin and Shusha and, accordingly, Stepanakert.
They already intercepted it three days ago and interrupted the supply of the entire Armenian grouping east of Stepanakert and Shushi.
That is, now they do not really need to seize the Lachin corridor.
They will continue to exert pressure – maybe it works out, on the one hand. On the other hand, sooner or later it will still have to be occupied.
And so the Armenian forces east of Stepanakert and Shushi are in an operational environment.
Since the southern road, one of the two that connect Stepanakert with Armenia, has already been cut. The northern road is also located not far from the front line and under the intense influence of the field artillery of the Turkish coalition, not to mention aviation,” Strelkov said.
He noted that after some time the Armenian forces will experience a shortage of ammunition, fuel and lubricants and food.
“The coverage of Shushi is a serious strategic achievement in this offensive from Azerbaijan,” the former head of the DPR Defense Ministry stressed.
According to him, if Shusha falls, it will take just weeks before the Armenians are completely defeated.
“If it can be defended, which I doubt, the fighting will drag on until the new year or even longer.
The situation can collapse in a matter of days, because in addition to the Shusha direction, which is now the most important for Azerbaijan, the offensive is being carried out on Martuni, where battles are already taking place on the outskirts of the city.
Offensive operations are also taking place on the northern front. Armenia cannot resist the Turkish-Azerbaijani coalition, which uses the most modern Turkish technology.
Not to mention Karabakh. Without serious interference in this conflict, not even as a participant in hostilities, but at least within the framework of ultimatums, Iran or the Russian Federation, or better both, hostilities in any case will end with the defeat of the Armenians and the occupation of Karabakh. The only question is in time,” he explained.
Strelkov noted that the Armenian side in Karabakh made many unacceptable military mistakes.
“But the Armenian side made a very large number of both strategic and tactical mistakes, which led to a quick defeat on the southern flank and an acute operational crisis, in fact, a semi-encirclement of the Armenian troops.
Even to retreat now from the region of Stepanakert, Magduni, Aghdam, keeping the equipment, the troops of Nagorno-Karabakh cannot.
They are on the verge of complete defeat, if they do not unblock the track in the near future. They have not been able to do this for three days, on the contrary, the zone of Turkish influence to the west of Shushi is expanding. We can say that the threshold of defeat has already been overcome,” he clarified.
In his opinion, the main mistake of the Armenians in this conflict was that they were preparing for a sort of “final war.”
“They had strong enough artillery, a sufficient number of combat-ready tanks, multiple launch rocket systems, conventional air defense systems. But there were absolutely no means to resist the shock and reconnaissance-corrective unmanned vehicles, which were massively used by the Turkish coalition. Gliding homing projectiles and all other latest technology. The Armenians were generally not ready for this,” Strelkov said.
He also said that being completely confident in their forces, the Armenians deployed their troops in fortified areas along the border, not foreseeing the possibility of an enemy breakthrough.
“As soon as, using the latest technology and superiority in forces, the Turkish troops managed to break through along the Araks, the front immediately collapsed.
In the rear, there were no fortified areas, no nodes of resistance prepared in advance and occupied by the troops. And from that moment Azerbaijani troops began to attack in all directions, easily repulsing counterattacks.
Another mistake. The Armenians tried to counterattack in the conditions of the enemy’s total air superiority, and not to organize a defense on new lines.
With a general, probably threefold, superiority in manpower and equipment, the lengthening of the front is beneficial for the Azerbaijani-Turkish troops. The wider it is, the more likely it is to find gaps in it. And that’s what they are doing,” the former DPR minister said.
According to Strelkov, it is highly likely that by the New Year, Nagorno-Karabakh will be completely lost by the Armenians.
“Despite the opinion of some analysts that the complete victory of Azerbaijan is allegedly not beneficial to Erdogan, I believe that Erdogan and Aliyev are united in that they will strive to inflict a complete defeat on Armenia in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and completely cleanse the region by the New Year,” Strelkov concluded
Currently, the Azerbaijani armed forces in Nagorno-Karabakh continue their offensive along the entire front line.
Summing up comments of Strelkov to NAA refers to the Azerbaijani forces almost entirely as the “Turkish Forces” as it appears for him there is no difference, and that Erdogan is the de facto sovereign of both countries and their respective armed forces.
Azerbaijan continues its advance, and despite Armenian calls of successful defense, the lack of manpower and, mostly, the necessary hardware, are proving too vast to effectively stop the Azerbaijani forces, along with the Syrian militants that fight on their side. Armenia seems to be using its forces not very effective, and the recent policy of Yerevan, which is predominantly anti-Russian, doesn’t actually benefit its defense. Russia does not rush to join in to defend the region that even Armenia does not recognize as its part.
Armenia also refuses to acknowledge the Artsakh Republic as an independent state, and hopes some other country would do so – weeks have passed and nothing of the sort has happened. But, if it recognizes it as an independent republic, then it can’t, at least for a long while, attempt to make it a part of its borders. The deployment of UN peacekeepers that could theoretically help to establish a permanent ceasefire at least for some period also does not seem to be likely in the current condition. Regardless multiple legal issues with the employment of such a move (Azerbaijan is strongly against it), the Armenian-Azerbaijani war in Karabakh is in fact in its hot phase and such peacekeepers cannot be deployed without the establishing of the real ceasefire regime.
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