Azerbaijan's Aliyev declares victory over Armenia, denies Syrian mercenary deployment

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said on Wednesday that Armenia's call for Russian military cooperation on Nagorno-Karabakh dispute meant Azerbaijan's victory over Armenia.

On Oct. 31, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan formally asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to begin "urgent" consultations on providing security amid a conflict with Azerbaijan. Pashinyan said in his letter to Putin that hostilities were getting closer to Armenia's borders and reiterated that Turkey was backing Azerbaijan in the ongoing conflict that erupted on Sept. 27.

"Prime Minister Pashinyan sent a letter to President Putin asking for military assistance. This means admitting their military defeat and our victory," Aliyev said in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

He also said Azeri military was capable to gain victory on its own and denied claims that mercenaries from Libya and Syria were deployed in the region to support Azerbaijan. France, Armenia and Iran accused Turkey of sending Islamist militia to the region.

"On many occasions, I have referred to this issue and said that this is not true. I don't know why this information was circulated, and still is being circulated," Aliyev said.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that Moscow had intelligence that some 2,000 mercenaries are fighting against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh.

"We have repeatedly called on external players to use their capabilities to prevent the transfer of mercenaries, whose number in the conflict zone, according to available data, is already approaching 2,000," Lavrov said in an interview with Russian daily Kommersant.