The operational meeting was held under President, Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev at Central Command Post of Ministry of Defense
An operational meeting has been held under the leadership of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, victorious Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev at the Central Command Post of the Ministry of Defense with the participation of the leadership of the Defense Ministry and the commanders of the joint corps located in the frontline zone.
The head of state addressed the operational meeting.
Speech of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
– The war has been going on for about a month. During this period, our country has achieved great successes on the battlefield. Good news comes from the frontline every day. During the day, I am regularly updated about the operations carried out in the war zone and give relevant instructions. Almost every hour I receive information about events in different regions. The Ministry of Defense and other agencies keep me informed. Operational meetings are held every day. In short, the situation is fully under control. During this period, a part of our occupied lands has been liberated from occupiers. More than 100 settlements – cities and villages – have been liberated from the occupiers. The Azerbaijani flag has already been hoisted in our liberated cities and villages. Video footage of these cities and villages is available to the Azerbaijani public, so everyone can see the state to which the savage enemy has brought our cities and villages. There is not a single building left there. All buildings, houses, administrative buildings, social facilities, historical and religious sites have been destroyed by the hated enemy. The occupied lands and ruins are witness to Armenian vandalism. The Armenian state is responsible for these crimes and will be held accountable for them.
I have ordered to conduct inspections in all liberated areas, to register all the destruction, to draw up acts, to register the destroyed property of our citizens. The Armenian state will definitely be held accountable for these war crimes. Once again, the whole world can see what kind of savages we are facing. Today, Azerbaijani soldiers and officers are teaching the enemy a lesson on the battlefield, are putting the enemy in its place, are driving the enemy out of our lands. We shed blood, we have martyrs – both among servicemen and civilians. Armenia cannot confront us on the battlefield and, as always, fires on our civilian settlements. As a result of this cowardly shooting, more than 60 civilians have been killed and about 300 injured. Two days ago, National Hero Shukur Hamidov died as a hero. Shukur Hamidov showed heroism in the battles of April 2016. He was awarded the honorary title of National Hero and I personally presented the National Hero star to him.
I suggest that we observe a minute’s silence in memory of all our martyrs who died in the battles. May they rest in peace. I pray to God to send healing to our wounded soldiers and civilians.
These days, we have seen again that Armenia does not intend to leave our lands of its own accord. We have seen again that during these 30 years, Armenia simply wanted to gain time, to imitate the negotiations and to perpetuate the status quo. Unfortunately, the international mediators were unable or did not want to put the necessary pressure on the occupying state. Otherwise, four UN Security Council resolutions would not remain on paper. I must also note that a few days ago, the co-chairs held a meeting of the UN Security Council. A document was put forward at the meeting that did not meet our interests and was intended to draw a line through the resolutions adopted in 1993. We strongly objected to this. This is another manifestation of injustice, another manifestation of double standards. The resolutions adopted in 1993 express a clear position on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Resolutions adopted in 1993 demand complete, immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories. The draft document initiated the other day did not contain these provisions. In short, this step is viewed as yet another provocation against Azerbaijan. We have raised our voice, and I am glad that some of the members of the Security Council objected to this even though they were pressured by major states. However, these countries are members of the Non-Aligned Movement, which is currently chaired by Azerbaijan. Of course, their support for Azerbaijan is highly appreciated and shows that there is a high level of solidarity within the Non-Aligned Movement. In short, this political step failed and no document was adopted. I think this is another political victory for us. Just as we are winning on the battlefield, we are winning in the political arena. Just as we are driving the enemy away on the battlefield, we are also responding to the provocative steps of the enemy’s supporters. Azerbaijan is not alone, our territorial integrity is recognized by the international community and we operate within the norms of international law – even though Armenia has repeatedly provoked us during this period, fired on our military positions from Armenian territory, fired on our settlements, fired two ballistic missiles at Ganja from the territory of Armenia, as a result of which innocent people were killed. Hundreds and thousands of shells are fired at our cities and villages in Tartar, Aghdam and other frontline regions every day, but the international community remains tight-lipped over this. And so do the mediators. All they are concerned about now is how to get Armenia out of this situation. There is a way to do this – Armenia must withdraw from our lands, it must get out of there. This is required by international law. But no pressure is being put on them. On the contrary, there are attempts to influence and put pressure on us. Of course, no-one can influence us, no-one can influence our resolve. I want our servicemen and citizens to know that there is a very serious struggle – both on the frontline and in the political arena. We shed blood on the battlefield, liberate our lands from occupiers at the cost of the lives of these heroes, while at the same time, we resist, show courage and defend our positions on the political stage.
A ceasefire was declared at the request of Armenia and at the suggestion of major powers twice and Armenia violated the ceasefire both times. The first time, less than a day later, they bombed Ganja. The second time they violated the ceasefire two minutes after it was announced. This being the case, Azerbaijan gave them and will continue to give them a decent rebuff, of course. We will continue to drive the enemy out of our lands, all the way.
We have one condition: the countries that are so concerned about Armenia, patronize them and create conditions for the Armenians to occupy our lands for about 30 years should put pressure on Armenia. The Armenian prime minister must declare that Armenia will withdraw from the occupied territories. We have not heard such statements. On the contrary, he talks of the self-determination of peoples and, in fact, has disrupted the process of negotiations.
The ceasefire cannot be unconditional. They will deceive us for another 27 years, for another 30 years. Delegations will be coming here for another 30 years and negotiations will be held. We are fed up and the patience of the Azerbaijani people is exhausted. Twenty-eight years ago, the Minsk Group was established. They have been deceiving us for 28 years. For 28 years, they have been promising to us, asking us to wait, saying that they will put pressure on Armenia, that they will do this and that. It was all a lie. Everyone sees it now. I have always told my people the truth. I have always said things the way they are. And I am saying that today. I must say that Armenia is being armed. The most modern weapons are being sent to Armenia every day. We have a list of these weapons. We have all the information about the flights, when, where and from which city they departed, when they arrived in Yerevan and what they carried. During the current fighting, about 300 Armenian tanks have been either destroyed or taken as military booty. Where does all this money come from? It is a poor country with no money and no opportunities. They got it for free. Six S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems have been destroyed. Their price is known. Where does this come from? TOR, OSA anti-aircraft missile systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, aircraft which have already been destroyed by Azerbaijan. Where did Tochka-U and SCUD come from? It is given to them for free. We cannot remain silent about it. Everyone should know this. We are fighting alone, on our own!
I am saying all this, first of all, for the people of Azerbaijan to know the real situation. People should realize at what cost we are liberating our lands from occupiers. People should know that if Armenia had not received financial, military and political assistance over the course of these 27-28 years, our lands would have been liberated from the occupiers long ago, and peacefully. Notice how Armenian soldiers are fleeing the battlefield. This footage is available. Only some of these images are published in the media but this is a very extensive video. Without these weapons, without this political support, could Armenia have occupied our lands? Of course not! As I said, we are driving them away and will continue to do that. No-one can stand in front of Azerbaijan. We are right, we are fighting on our own land, we are restoring our territorial integrity, we have not crossed into the territory of Armenia and have no such plans. If we had such an idea, we would have done it a long time ago. It does not take much effort to do so.
We have succeeded on the battlefield. At the same time, these battles have shown that there are still drawbacks and shortcomings, and we are eliminating them promptly. At the same time, after these battles, after the end of the Second Karabakh War, all the successes and shortcomings of the war must be seriously analyzed. Although the Azerbaijani Army is one of the strongest armies in the world today, we must continue to use more modern methods in army building.
These battles are a great experience for us. We have seen that some of the weapons in our military arsenal are not particularly necessary in modern warfare. On the contrary, we have entered a high-tech stage and, of course, technology and professionalism contribute a lot to the success of any army. I have said this before and I want to say again that it is the soldiers and officers who are liberating our lands from the occupiers. They are raising our flag and clearing the land from invaders. Therefore, in the coming days – we will talk about that today – our military operations must be conducted in a more effective manner and without wasting time. In some cases, there have been delays. In some cases, no justification can be provided for a delay. We are analyzing all this and will continue to do so. I repeat – the Azerbaijani Army shows great courage and professionalism. We lost our lands in the early 1990s over several years, but parts of Fuzuli, Hadrut, Jabrayil, Zangilan, Kalbajar and Gubadli districts have been liberated from the occupiers in less than a month. Again, good news comes from the frontline every day. It is true that some areas need serious adjustments but, on the whole, we are reaching our goal. Every day, a combat mission is set for the next day. I approve this combat mission and it is possible to say that almost all of it is fulfilled.
I am confident that Azerbaijan will restore its territorial integrity. We are fighting on our own land. Justice is on our side, international law is on our side, historical justice is on our side. We must restore our territorial integrity, expel the occupiers from our lands and ensure the sovereignty of our country. I am confident that we will achieve this. But this, of course, requires great responsibility, courage and discipline from every official.
These days, I regularly address the people of Azerbaijan, express my views and report on our successes. I want to assure the people of Azerbaijan today that we will not turn back from the right path! No force can affect our resolve. We will drive the enemy away to the very end. We will restore our territorial integrity!