Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry has described as unfounded Armenian claims about Azerbaijan Army’s alleged strike on the church in occupied Shusha.
The ministry stressed that Azerbaijan Army does not target historical, cultural, religious building and monuments. Thus, the destruction of the church in Shusha during the hostilities isn’t anyhow related to the activities of the Azerbaijani army.
Moreover, the ministry stated that Armenia, during the shelling of Ganja on October 4, hit Imamzade religious complex, which is a religious-architectural monument.
In the meantime, military expert, reserve colonel Shair Ramaldanov after examining the video footage of the destruction of the Shusha church, told Trend that the fact that all icons are in their places, glass on the windows remained intact, no signs of fire were noted in the footage shown inside the church, all of these give reason to believe that no explosion took place inside the church.
“If the hole in the ceiling was formed as a result of the missile strike, heavy destructions and fire would be inevitable inside the room, and if the missile exploded outside the building, then at least the wooden roof structures would have burned,” he noted.
“On the other hand, analysis of the place hit by the missile, as well as the image on Google Maps show that the ‘strike’ came not from the Azerbaijani, but from the Armenian side. Following the logic of Armenians, our missile flew over the church, then turned around and hit the building from the Armenian side,” the expert added.
Ramaldanov stated that due to obvious failures on the battlefield, Armenia is trying to indiscriminately accuse Azerbaijan of vandalism, to cause international resentment and condemnation against Azerbaijan.
“Armenia, which for many years has been destroying and turning religious monuments belonging to Azerbaijan into ruins, intends to use this provocation to draw attention to Azerbaijan and mispresent the struggle of our country for its territorial integrity as a religious war,” the experts stressed.
Armenian armed forces launched a large-scale operation in the front-line zone on September 27 at 6 am, shelling the positions of the Azerbaijani army from large-calibre weapons, mortars, and artillery installations of various calibres.
Thirty one civilians have been killed and 164 others have been injured since the outbreak of large-scale hostilities on September 27, after Armenia launched another attack along the line of contact. Among the civilians are three children. As a result of the shelling of civilian infrastructure facilities by the occupying country’s armed forces, 1,054 houses, as well as 142 civilian facilities were severely damaged.
On October 4, Armenia launched missile attack on Ganja, Azerbaijan’s second largest populated city. There were also attacks on Mingachevir city that has a hydroelectric power station as well as on Khizi and Abheron region on the same day. On October 6, Armenia fired a forbidden cluster missile at Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline in Yevlakh. The bomb landed 10 meters away from the pipeline. Over 300 cluster bomblets ejected around as a result of the attack.
Azerbaijan and Armenia are locked in a conflict over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh breakaway region, which along with seven adjacent regions was occupied by Armenian forces in a war in the early 1990s. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and around one million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by the United States, Russia and France has been mediating the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict since the signing of the volatile cease-fire agreement in 1994. The Minsk Group’s efforts have resulted in no progress and to this date, Armenia has failed to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) that demand the withdrawal of Armenian military forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.