As has become customary, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev gave another “victory speech” after Baku’s forces entered the Lachin District.
In his speech, as typical, styled in the manner of “Big Brother” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he, once again, praised the success, and had the “us against the world” attitude that’s become expected in Turkish and similar rhetoric.
“I am very happy to say that Lachin distrct has been liberated from occupation. I heartily congratulate all the people of Azerbaijan on this occasion. The liberation of Lachin is a historic event. We returned Lachin without firing a single shot. We forced the enemy to do so. The brilliant victory on the battlefield led to the wonderful result that our three regions – Aghdam, Kalbajar and Lachin – were returned to us. We returned these regions without firing a single shot or losing a single soldier.”
He also promised for the regions to be developed further, as soon as possible.
“Lachin is one of the largest regions of the country, with an area of 1,800 square kilometers. The rich nature, historical monuments and underground resources of Lachin region are our national treasure. Lachin distrct will play an important role in the future economic development of Azerbaijan. First of all, we will return the people of Lachin to Lachin. I sincerely congratulate the people of Lachin on this wonderful event and pay attention to it. When Lachin was occupied, the region had a population of about 50,000. Now the population of Lachin district has reached 80,000. Of course, one of our main tasks will be to return the people of Lachin to Lachin in a short time. We will also try to return former IDPs to all other liberated areas as soon as possible.”
He also spoke of the Russian peacekeepers and the negotiations that took place with the Russian-brokered peace deal.
“The strategic importance of Lachin region is also that the Lachin corridor passes through the territory of the region and through the city of Lachin.
As you know, this corridor is under the control of Russian peacekeeping forces. The corridor was under the control of the Armenian armed forces and occupiers for many years. I can say that the initial version of the joint statement signed on November 10 contained a provision that this corridor should remain under the control of the Armenian armed forces.
I protested, and as a result, the corridor came under the control of Russian peacekeeping forces. I think this is a great achievement. The Lachin corridor has been cleared of Armenian occupying forces. I must also note that active work was underway on the initial version of the Declaration, especially shortly after the liberation of Shusha.
The initial version of the statement suggested that the width of the Lachin corridor be 30 kilometers. I strongly objected to this and said that this claim of the Armenian side is completely unfounded. There is no need for such a wide corridor to ensure security measures within the corridor. Therefore, I considered it a completely unacceptable proposal and expressed my opinion. Then, in the second option, the width of the Lachin corridor was 10 kilometers.
I did not agree to this, and as a result, an agreement was reached on a corridor 5 kilometers wide. The five kilometers cover enough distance for us, for the Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh, and for security.There is no need for such a wide corridor to ensure security measures within the corridor. Therefore, I considered it a completely unacceptable proposal and expressed my opinion. Then, in the second option, the width of the Lachin corridor was 10 kilometers. I did not agree to this, and as a result, an agreement was reached on a corridor 5 kilometers wide. The five kilometers cover enough distance for us, for the Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh, and for security.There is no need for such a wide corridor to ensure security measures within the corridor. Therefore, I considered it a completely unacceptable proposal and expressed my opinion. Then, in the second option, the width of the Lachin corridor was 10 kilometers. I did not agree to this, and as a result, an agreement was reached on a corridor 5 kilometers wide.”
He furthermore emphasized that Azerbaijan taking control of these territories was central to the negotiation process, and no peace would have been reached without concessions such as these.
“I must also say that in connection with the negotiation process – I want the Azerbaijani people to hear this information from me – it is no coincidence that the issue of returning the occupied territories to Azerbaijan was at the center of the talks. This was our position. But here, too, a step-by-step solution was envisaged. We also supported it. Return of 5 districts to Azerbaijan in the first stage, and return of Kalbajar and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan in the second stage with the exception of Lachin corridor.
The Armenian side has always raised the issue that if these 7 regions are returned to Azerbaijan, the status of Nagorno-Karabakh must be resolved at the same time. It is another matter that Armenia was simply imitating the talks and did not intend to return any region to us.
However, in any case, their position was that 5 districts could be returned, but in order to return Lachin and Kalbajar districts to Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan must either recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh or recognize the voting to be held there, set a date for voting. If Nagorno-Karabakh is granted independence, then Armenia will return the Kalbajar and Lachin regions to Azerbaijan, but the Lachin corridor would be given to Armenia, and the width of the corridor was not determined. These were the issues on the table.”
He then said that there were “those” who oppose the agreement, but that wouldn’t be allowed and it would meet strong opposition.
“I always said that if Lachin, Kalbajar and Shusha do not return to Azerbaijan, there can be no agreement. My position irritated many in foreign countries. I said that our territorial integrity must be restored. I said that the option of war is never ruled out.
Not only that, all these years we have been mobilizing all our forces to strengthen our country, gather strength – both internationally and domestically, in solving economic problems, strengthening solidarity and unity in our country, building an army. We have brought this power into the form of an iron fist, we have broken the enemy’s back, and today we have created a new reality. If even a year ago some people told us to reconcile with the existing reality, today I say that everyone should be reconciled with the existing reality.
If anyone wants to interfere in the statement signed on November 10, they will see our tough stance. There are such attempts. These attempts have a purpose to violate this agreement. Because this agreement irritates some people that a new security format has already emerged. The establishment of the Turkish-Russian Joint Center was approved in the statement.”
He then concluded by saying that the Azerbaijani victory was absolute, and that the enemy was crushed and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan should go and do his job.
“I want to say again that we have created a new reality, we have won, we have created a new reality by crushing the enemy’s head and driving the enemy out of our lands. Everyone will be reconciled to this reality, they will be forced to reconcile, just as Armenia was reconciled. This statement is signed by Pashinyan. He signed it and was forced to. He, in fact, signed the act of capitulation. Armenia would either be completely destroyed or sign the deal. What has someone else got to do with it? Let everyone go and do their job.”
Aliyev also gave a brief overview of what was destroyed or captured by the Azerbaijani forces:
Equipment of the destroyed Armenian army:
Anti-tank vehicles – 53, Smerch – four, Grad – 97, Hurricane – 2, YARS – 1, TOS firearm – 1, S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems – 7 shooters the device was destroyed. Now, if they only calculate the cost, they will see how much we have dealt a blow to the Armenian army. Thus, 7 launchers, one S-300 radar and two S-300 detection stations were destroyed. Oborona radar station – 1 unit, TOR anti-aircraft missile system – 5 units, Osa anti-aircraft missile system – 40 units, KUB anti-aircraft missile system – 4 units, KRUG anti-aircraft missile system – 1 unit, outpost – 14 units, S-125 anti-aircraft missile system – 2 units, unmanned aerial vehicles – 22 units, Elbrus operational-tactical missile complex – 2, ballistic missile – 1, Tochka-U missile complex – 1, radio-electronic means of struggle – 5 pieces,R-142 command post vehicle – 2 units, Nebo-M radar station – 1 unit, various radar stations – 7 units, Reppelent radio-technical barrier vehicle – 4 units.
Destroyed and looted enemy equipment:
Self-propelled artillery “Acacia” and “Gvozdika” – 28 were destroyed, 5 were looted. Artillery of various calibers – 315 were destroyed, 37 were taken as military booty. Mortars – 63 were destroyed, 62 were looted. Private cars – 10 were destroyed, 93 were looted. Grenades – 178 looted. Tractor – 10, “Shilka” anti-aircraft gun – 5 loot. Firearms – 1380 firearms were looted. 7 command posts and 11 ammunition depots were destroyed. Tanks – 287 were destroyed, 79 were looted, a total of 366 tanks. The list goes on. Infantry fighting vehicles – 69 were destroyed, 47 were looted. Su-25 aircraft – 5 were destroyed. 252 trucks were destroyed and 270 were taken as military spoils of war.
He then praised the war, and remembered the victims of it.
“From the first day of the war until today – from September 27 to December 1, I have repeatedly addressed the people of Azerbaijan, shared the joy of victory, and gave the good news of our liberated cities. I consider myself a very happy person. Because this victory showed our spirit, our indomitable spirit. It showed that the people of Azerbaijan never intended to reconcile with this situation, and all our people, very young children, old people, those who left those lands, those who want to return, the representatives of the young generation who have never been in those lands, but from those regions, we all lived with a dream and realized that dream. Today, all our dreams have come true. This is a great happiness for each of us. The war is over.
Civilians – 94 civilians were killed and more than 400 civilians were wounded by the savage enemy. When the people whose houses were destroyed came out of the rubble, they said only forward. You know, everyone should know this, and we show the whole world that we are a great nation, an invincible nation. We have won a victory on the battlefield, in the political arena, and this victory opens a new era for our country. This period will be a period of development, security and progress.
I am already concluding my appeals on this topic. I am sure that from now on, of course, in many cases I will say my words to my people. But I would like to conclude my appeals on this period with the words of every Azerbaijani citizen: Jabrayil is ours, Fuzuli is ours, Zangilan is ours, Gubadli is ours, Aghdam is ours, Kalbajar is ours, Lachin is ours, Shusha is ours, Karabakh is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan! Love to the people of Azerbaijan! Long live Azerbaijan!”
He said that Azerbaijan was prepared to trade and work together with everybody, just as it is doing so with Turkey. Russia, Iran, even Armenia was welcome to cooperate with it.