In a fresh interview with RBC, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has weighed in on the recent escalation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, and explained why Azerbaijan attacked the territory of Armenia, and not Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to Pashinyan, the bellicose rhetoric of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has been growing in recent months, and literally a week before the escalation Aliyev threatened to withdraw from negotiations on a peaceful settlement.
"There is a nuance as to why they attacked not in the direction of Nagorno-Karabakh, but in the direction of Armenia's Tavush province. The Azerbaijani leader has promised his people that he would solve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue through an armed attack. The problem is that over the past 10 years, the Azerbaijani government has spent several billion dollars under the pretext of developing the Azerbaijani Armed Forces," the Armenian PM explained.
"And a week before that (before the escalation on the border - Ed.) they (officials in Azerbaijan - ed.) said that “now we cannot attack in the direction of Nagorno-Karabakh, because the armed forces of Nagorno-Karabakh have installed video surveillance systems on the line of contact, and any movement of Azerbaijani troops will be visible to the Karabakh Armed Forces․"
He also cited a second factor which made Azerbaijan choose Armenia for the attack and revealed that there are many Azerbaijani settlements near the contact line of Nagorno-Karabakh, and it is now quite difficult for Azerbaijan to launch an attack in that direction.
"They attacked in a spot where not so many video surveillance systems have been installed. There is only one Azerbaijani village in this direction, and a lot of Armenian ones," he added.
The situation on the border between the two countries escalated on July 12, with Azerbaijan launching several unsuccessful infiltration attempts throughout the next week. The Azerbaijani military also used artillery and combat drones to target civilian homes in several border settlements in Armenia. Five servicemen of the Armenian army were killed, while Azerbaijan reported 12 deaths.
In recent days, though, the situation has been relatively calm.