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Karabakh Drums Of War: Armenia, Azerbaijan Ramp Up Forces Near Contested Region

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The Azerbaijan Armed Forces are carrying out a large-scale operational and tactical exercise between March 15th and 18th.

The drills involve up to 10,000 military personnel, 100 tanks and other armored vehicles, 200 missile and artillery systems, multiple launch rocket systems, and mortars, and up to 30 military aviation assets, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles for various purposes.

According to the Azerbaijani leadership, the goal of the drills is to “fight against terrorist groups, in particular, illegal armed formations, and to conduct counter-terrorism operations” in mountain-wooded areas with difficult terrain. In other words, Baku declared that its forces are training for another clash with Armenian forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh area.

The military exercises follow those held on March 5th, when the Azerbaijani Combined Arms Army conducted intense live-fire training with crews of the armored fighting vehicles with same purpose.

As to Karabakh itself, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry continues releasing videos of the areas they captured, largely showcasing abandoned buildings, debris from various structures and the beauty of the hills.

Pro-Armenian sources expectedly claim that Azerbaijan prepares for a new offensive amid the deepening political chaos in Armenia. Nikol Pashinyan hold on to his power like grim death despite the popular demand for his resignation and the fact that his policies led the Armenians to the tragedy in Karabakh.

At the same time, the Armenian Armed Forces are holding their own exercises from March 16 to 20. The drills involve 7,500 servicemen, 100 armored vehicles, 200 missile and artillery systems, 90 air defense units. The numbers of troops and equipment involved in the drills serve another confirmation that the Armenian military did not participate in the recent Karabakh war and abandoned local self-defense forces in the face of the Azerbaijani-Turkish bloc.

In the current conditions, the only factor preventing the further Turkish-Azerbaijani advance, which is unlikely to be repelled, is the presence of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in the conflict region. However, it does not seems that the Pashinyan clique understands this as it continues providing a de-facto anti-Russian course regularly releasing tries to lay blame on Moscow for the failures of the Armenian leadership during the war.

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