How did Azerbaijani mortars end up in the Russian-Ukrainian war?
    Caliber.Az versions

    POLITICS  18 June 2022 - 16:23

    Politics Department

    Today a number of sources, in particular Ukraine Weapons Tracker, disseminated information accompanied by photos stating that mortars produced in Azerbaijan had ended up in Ukraine.

    Yes, indeed Azerbaijan produces 20N5 82mm "NATO" caliber mortars at the factories of the Ministry of Defence Industry of Azerbaijan. It is a company- and battalion-level infantry weapon that can inflict significant damage on the enemy at a range of more than 5 kilometers and support the defence of the area or the offensive in a single direction.

    This mortar has been repeatedly demonstrated at international defence exhibitions. Moreover, back in 2015, it was reported that Azerbaijan was negotiating to export the 20N5 82mm mortar to a number of countries in the Middle East and Africa. According to our information, a number of relevant deals have been concluded.

    As for the information about the appearance of Azerbaijani mortars in the Ukrainian army, Caliber.Az has learned from competent military sources that Azerbaijan has not supplied these mortars to Ukraine. But how did these mortars come to the Ukrainian Armed Forces?

    Let's start from the fact that a few years ago it was reported that Ukraine was interested in purchasing large quantities of ammunition from Azerbaijan (thanks to the national military-industrial complex - in the 1990s Baku used to buy Kyiv's arms), but it did not happen. And now the mortars have popped up. Two versions are possible here. It is unlikely, but still, the Photoshop version is possible. Obviously, at the current level of computer technology and with basic computer skills it is possible to do more than that.

    The second, more probable version is that the Azerbaijani mortars ended up in Ukraine thanks to the countries to which Azerbaijan sold them legally. Yes, if there was a written agreement that the buyer has no right to transfer or sell these weapons to third countries, then there has been a violation of the terms of the deal. But it happens in the modern world. Especially in the arms market at a time of sharp escalation of large-scale conflicts.

    There are many examples in this context. For example, in March 2007, China transferred several JF-17 Thunder fighters to Pakistan, which caused concern in Russia. The thing is that these planes were equipped with Russian RD-93 engines that were produced by Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG and supplied to China by Rosoboronexport since 2005. According to the Russian side, China had no right to re-export these fighters to third countries.

    We can also recall the high-profile scandal that took place in April 2002, when it became known that the leadership of Ukraine, in particular President Leonid Kuchma and Valery Malev, head of UkrSpetsEksport, had discussed the possibility of supplying four Kolchuga radio reconnaissance stations to Iraq via Jordan, bypassing American sanctions. We can also recall the publications in WikiLeaks about the re-export of weapons from Armenia to Iran, bypassing Western sanctions.

    Anyway, Azerbaijan has nothing to hide. According to the Ministry of Defence Industry, Azerbaijani weapons and military equipment are exported to more than 30 countries. According to the ministry, in 2021, more than 60% of defence products of the enterprises of the Ministry of Defence Industry of Azerbaijan were exported. It is quite possible that mortars were on the list of names of defence exports. If Baku had really supplied Kyiv with weapons, then this would have been officially announced. In this case, Azerbaijan has nothing to do with the appearance of 20N5 82mm mortars in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Most likely, it is worth looking for a trace in the countries of Africa and the Middle East that bought our mortars.

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