Baku: – 16 soldiers have reportedly been killed in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, since the last few days. The two Asian countries carved out of former USSR, have pointed their missiles at each other and Azerbaijan has threatened to target the Armenian nuclear power project. Concerns are being expressed that it will be a bigger holocaust than the Chernobyl accident. India, the United States, Russia and the European Union have appealed for restraint to both the countries.
The border dispute has persisted between Azerbaijan and Armenia, ever since their independence from USSR. The tension has been increasing with time and last week, the tension transformed into a conflict. It is claimed that a minimum of 16 soldiers have been killed in the conflict. Thereafter, Azerbaijan and Armenia have deployed missiles, tanks, artillery and drones near their borders. There have been many incidences of cross border firing between these two countries. But for the first time, both the countries have increased military deployment along the border and have started exchanging threats.
The Azerbaijan defence ministry threatened ‘Armenia should not be forgetting that the Azerbaijani missiles are capable of landing a precise attack on Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant, which will be a disaster for Armenia.’ Possibility of Azerbaijan making use of drones along with missiles, has also been predicted. Only last week, Armenia had threatened to destroy the Mingachevir dam in Azerbaijan. At the same time, it has been reported that the Armenian military destroyed bases of the Azerbaijan military. It is being said that the Azerbaijani threat comes against this background.
Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant is just 35 kilometres away from the Armenian capital Yerevan. More than a third of Armenia receives power supply from this plant. Nearly 1 million people are residing between the Metsamor plant and Yerevan. Therefore, if Azerbaijan attacks the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant, there could be massive casualties. A US news agency said that the chances of another Chernobyl have increased with the new Azerbaijan threat. Chernobyl in Ukraine and Metsamor in Armenia had been built at around the same time. There had been massive radiation leakage, resulting in a huge number of casualties, caused by an earthquake, in 1986. The seriousness of the Azerbaijan threat increases against this background.
Intense reactions are emanating from around the world, over the Azerbaijan threat. India has appealed to both the central Asian countries to exhibit restraint. Russia has appealed to both the countries for a ceasefire and has even expressed willingness to mediate. Meanwhile, Turkey has announced that it will arm Azerbaijan and assist Armenia in case a war is sparked.