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Idle Threat? Azerbaijan’s Hint At Missile Strike On Armenian Nuclear Plant Increases Tensions via RadioFreeEurope

By Andy Heil

Azerbaijan dramatically escalated tensions amid its border battle with Armenia this week with an implicit threat to bomb the region’s only nuclear power plant and unleash “great catastrophe” on Armenians.

The July 16 warning drew outrage from Yerevan and deepened concerns that the worst violence in four years between Azerbaijan and Armenia, who are technically still in a war begun in the late 1980s, could quickly spiral out of control.

At least 16 Azerbaijanis and Armenians have died in the fighting near a northern section of their internationally recognized border that has included heavy artillery, tank, and drone attacks since it began on July 12.

[…]

Armenians are particularly attuned to the import of references to genocide in light of the mass killing of around 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in the World War I-era by Ottoman Turks. 
“With such statements, Azerbaijan’s leadership acts as a menace to all the peoples of the region, including its own people,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

There are some 3 million people living in Armenia.
The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant lies just a few kilometers from cities with tens of thousands of people and 35 kilometers from the Armenian capital, Yerevan, and its 1 million inhabitants.

The plant supplies more than one-third of the country’s energy needs.
Memories are fresh in the minds of Armenians and other former Soviet citizens of the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 in what is now Ukraine.

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