STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL) — Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh called up thousands of reservists and put their armed forces on high alert on Tuesday, September 24, at the start of “strategic” exercises aimed at simulating their joint response to external aggression.
The Armenian government formally approved last week the official scenario of the 12-day war games which Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan said will be the most large-scale in the country’s history.
The exercises got underway early in the morning with a mock declaration of martial law by the government followed by a mass mobilization and rapid troop movements.
Photographs released by Armenia’s Defense Ministry and Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army showed scores of soldiers, tanks and artillery systems leaving their military bases. They are due to simulate combat operations with live gunfire in the coming days.
Scores of reservists flocked to recruitment centers in Armenia and Karabakh in the following hours.
“Such exercises involving thousands of [reserve] personnel have never been held before,” Tonoyan told reporters in Yerevan. “I am grateful to everyone because within six hours thousands of reservists arrived at military commissariats and mobilization centers … This was unexpected even for me.”