Baku accuses Armenia of rocket attack on vicinity of important oil pipeline

Armenia-Azerbaijani dispute has been going on for four decades. Photo: Getty Images. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BAKU, Oct 7, 2020, TASS. The Prosecutor General’s Office of Azerbaijan on Tuesday accused Armenia of firing rockets at an area adjacent to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, transporting crude oil from Azerbaijan to Turkey via the Georgian capital, TASS reported.

“At about 21:00 [local time, 20:00 Moscow time], the armed forces of Armenia conducted a rocket strike at a section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline in the Yevlax district,” the agency said, adding that the attack “was thwarted” as a result of measures taken by Azerbaijani forces.

The Defense Ministry of Armenia rejected the accusations.

“Azerbaijan’s reports of Armenian troops’ attempt to strike the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline are outright lies,” Armenian Defense Ministry press secretary Shushan Stepanyan wrote on her Facebook page. “We have repeatedly said that we do not view oil and gas infrastructure as our target.”

She added that “all areas from where attacks on Nagorno-Karabakh originate will be destroyed, regardless of their location.”

The 1,700-km Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipelines, with the annual capacity of 50 million tonnes of oil, was launched in 2006. It delivers oil from the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oilfield on the Caspian Sea shelf and is also used for transit of Turkmen, Kazakh and Russian oil.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.

In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs – Russia, France and the United States.

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