Azerbaijan denies reports of soldier civilian in Nagorno-Karabakh, Moscow confirms the incident
Details of the death of a civilian in Nagorno-Karabakh shot by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces have emerged. Official Baku denied this information, but the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that “on October 9, during agricultural work in the Mardakert region near the contact line, a civilian was mortally wounded as a result of shelling from the Azerbaijani side”.
55-year-old tractor driver Aram Tepnants was killed while working in a field near the city of Martakert (in Azerbaijan it is called Agdere). Residents of the city told reporters that at the time of his death, five or six Russian peacekeepers were next to the tractor driver, one was sitting next to him in the car.
After the incident, agricultural work in this and other areas near the contact line has been suspended. The Foreign Ministry of Armenia, as well as the unrecognized NKR, condemned the actions of Azerbaijan aimed at creating an atmosphere of fear among the civilian population and discrediting the peacekeeping mission of Russia, which ensures security in this territory.
The Armenian side is discussing steps to improve the security of the population with the Russian peacekeeping contingent.
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Details of the incident
NK often reports that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces violated the ceasefire, but this is the first time a civilian has been killed since the end of hostilities in Karabakh.
The incident occurred at about 13.20, the shots were fired from an Azerbaijani post about one kilometer away. Aram Tepnants died from shots in the chest.
One of the eyewitnesses to the incident, a resident of Martakert Slavik Santroyan, said:
“I turned to the peacekeepers and said that they seem to be shooting at the tractor, maybe we need to sort it out or stop the work in the field. But the Russian peacekeepers said there was nothing dangerous, everything was fine, they just wanted to scare us. One of the peacekeepers even offered to sit next to the tractor driver. He got into the tractor and the tractor driver continued to work. After a while, shooting at the tractor resumed”.
“They shot at the tractor while plowing, Aram died on the spot”, Mayor of Martakert Mikael Gyurjyan told Azatutyun radio.
Armenia’s prosecutor general’s office launches a criminal case
The murder of a civilian is regarded as a gross violation of the trilateral declaration of an armistice in Karabakh, signed by the heads of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia.
The Prosecutor General’s Office reports that the Russian peacekeepers arrived at the field where agricultural work was carried out to ensure security of the people, given its proximity to the contact line.
According to preliminary information from the department, the driver did not want to start work, but one of the peacekeepers offered to sit with him in the tractor cab as an additional guarantee of safety and they drove several laps across the field.
The Prosecutor General’s Office began a preliminary investigation, the data of which was also provided to representatives of the Russian prosecutor’s office. There is an agreement to conduct a joint investigation of the circumstances of the case.
The premeditated murder of a civilian is the result of the absence of real responsibility for violations of the ceasefire, established on November 10, according to a trilateral statement, Gegham Stepanyan, the ombudsman of the unrecognized NKR, wrote on his Facebook page.
According to him, the criminal cases initiated by local law enforcement agencies in connection with incidents at the border cannot yield results when “Azerbaijan, which has undertaken to respect the right to life, does not respect this right”.
He believes that it is necessary to establish Azerbaijani military positions further from settlements.
The Ombudsman of Armenia believes that the murder of a civilian in NK “is a direct consequence of the ongoing hostile state policy of Armenophobia and the enmity of the Azerbaijani authorities”:
“This tragic incident proves once again that guaranteeing the right to life, the right to a safe and peaceful life, as well as other vital rights of the Armenian population is impossible in the conditions of the Azerbaijani policy of hatred (Armenophobia) and enmity, while the perpetrators of such crimes and those who pursue this policy are Azerbaijani the authorities and will not be punished”.