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Armenian forces launched a missile attack on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, according to Azerbaijan. The country’s prosecutors said that Armenian forces had carried out the attack, which was prevented by the Azerbaijani military, on the pipeline in Yevlah at around 9 p.m. local time on October 6. The incident was described as a “terrorist act”.
The BTC pipeline delivers Azeri light crude oil (mainly from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field) through Georgia to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan for export via tankers. Another crucial Azerbaijani energy infrastructure object, which could become a potential target of Armenian attacks is the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline, which connects the giant Shah Deniz gas field with Europe through Georgia and Turkey. The Armenian side denounced the Azerbaijani report as fake news. Both Azerbaijan and Armenia regularly accuse each other of striking civilian and infrastructure objects on their sovereign territory and denounce the opponent’s claims as propaganda and fakes.
It is interesting to note that just a few hours earlier Vahram Poghosyan, the press secretary of the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) President, claimed that Armenian forces had delivered powerful missile and rocket strikes on military objects in large Azerbaijani towns destroying multiple pieces of equipment and eliminating the enemy. The Azerbaijani official narrative provides a similar position that Azerbaijani forces are pulverizing Armenian military targets.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov threatened Armenia with “using the weapons with great destructive power” to deliver strikes on “the military-strategic infrastructure” of Armenia if it employs its Iskander operational-tactical missile systems against Azerbaijani forces.
However, it does not seem that the Armenian political leadership is ready to employ all the variety of its means and forces to fight back in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region. Instead, the government of Nikol Pashinyan is now mostly focused on the diplomatic campaign in Western media in an attempt to convince the so-called international community to help it to keep control over Karabakh. Mr. Pashinyan, who just a few days ago was promising to inflict a military defeat on what he called the Azerbaijani-Turkish terror alliance even declared that Armenia is ready for mutual concessions. Nonetheless, Baku and Ankara do not seem to be ready for a new ceasefire and the resumption of negotiations at the present time.
On the frontline in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region itself, the main hot point is the district of Jabrayil. Using the worsening weather conditions (fog and thick clouds), which complicate the work of Azerbaijani combat drones, Armenian forces were able to stabilize the frontline and prevent further gains of the Azerbaijani military in this part of Karabakh. On October 7, Armenia even claimed that a large-scale Azerbaijani attack had been repelled in the area. The Defense Ministry claimed that over 60 dead and multiple equipment pieces were left by Azerbaijan on the battlefield.
Meanwhile, Armenian forces and cities of the region are still subjected to intense artillery bombardment by the Azerbaijani military. Heavy destruction was inflicted on the city of Stepanakert. As soon as the weather improves, Azerbaijan with help from Turkey will likely resume active drone strikes and launch a new phase of the ground offensive along the contact line.