Armenian army Chief: We had to choose between a very bad option and a tragedy

Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces, Colonel General Onik Gasparyan today has said that back in June he stated at a Security Council meeting that Armenia could not “effectively counter the military potential of Azerbaijan and Turkey and needed to direct all its political and diplomatic potential toward avoiding or postponing the war.”

“Some politicians accuse the leadership of the armed forces of presenting an unrealistic analysis to the head of state on the possible nature of the enemy’s actions and the capabilities of enemy armed forces. These accusations contradict the reality,” Onik Gasparyan has said in a statement.

“I was appointed Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces on 8 June 2020, and as soon as on June 12 I presented to the Prime Minister and a few days later to the Security Council the analysis of the military and political situation in the region and the capabilities of our armed forces.

I have made proposals to increase the level of military security in the country.

In particular, I stated:

1. Our opponent is not only Azerbaijan, but also Turkey. Therefore, Armenia cannot effectively resist the combined military potential of these states and it is necessary to direct all political and diplomatic potential to avoid or at least postpone the war.

2. Security Council and the Prime Minister accepted the proposal, but the question they asked was this: “And if we cannot avoid war, what should we do?” I replied that should a war be imposed on us, we should try to inflict heavy losses on the enemy as soon as possible and force it to abandon further actions. I mentioned that we should avoid a long war, given the availability of our resources. Numerous proposals were discussed and approved, the implementation of which should have significantly increased our combat potential. This referred to both the acquisition of armaments and military equipment and the comprehensive provision of hostilities.

3. At that time, we also raised the issue of forming units from mobilized resources in the amount of 100,000 troops,” said Gasparyan.

“In any case, we could not escape the war, and on September 27 the enemy launched a large-scale offensive on the entire Artsakh front. The Defense Army successfully repulsed all its attacks, inflicting heavy losses and eliminating large numbers of personnel and military equipment. Unfortunately, our troops also suffered heavy losses.

On the fourth day of the war, during the Security Council meeting, I presented our losses and the assessment of the situation in the armed forces, noting that it was necessary to stop the war in two or three days, otherwise we would exhaust our resources quickly and have more unfavorable conditions for the negotiation process in the coming days.

I have made similar assessments many times during my round-the-clock work with the Prime Minister, as well as at the Security Council meetings.

Turkey and Azerbaijan rejected all attempts and proposals to stop the war at a certain stage and we were forced to continue hostilities, trying to inflict heavy losses on the enemy and force the enemy to return to the negotiation table.

For all of us, the ceasefire statement with very difficult conditions was adopted as a result of a comprehensive assessment of the situation. We had to choose between a very bad option and a tragedy. We preferred the very bad option. That day was the worst day of my life, a personal tragedy for me…

However, the realization that with that ceasefire statement we managed to preserve most of Artsakh and the main military potential of the Defense Army says that we have no right to be depressed. We must unite, recover quickly and prepare for the continuation of the struggle,” said Colonel General Gasparyan.