Injuries on both sides reported after clashes at Armenian-Azerbaijani border
A fight between Armenian and Azerbaijani servicemen broke out in the border region of Syunik on May 20, the General Prosecutor’s Office of Armenia reports.
The conflict was caused by several videos that have been circulating on social media for several. Initially, a video of Azerbaijani military men attacking and beating Armenian soldiers was released, and, on the next day, another video showing the Armenian Armed Forces expelling Azerbaijani servicemen from their territory appeared on social media.
As a result of the fight, eleven Armenian soldiers were injured and hospitalized.
The Armenian Defense Ministry reported that servicemen from both sides were injured in a recent fight.
The ministry urged the public to stop disseminating videos on social media, as they “may hamper the peaceful resolution of the problem, and contribute towards the unnecessary escalation of the ongoing tensions”.
The situation at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border of the two countries has worsened since May 12 and remains tense. The Azerbaijani Armed Forces have advanced their positions several kilometers deep into the territory of Armenia, in the Syunik region towards the Sev Lich reservoir (Black Lake), as well as into the territories of the Gegharkunik region.
Armenia insists that the servicemen of Azerbaijan have to immediately withdraw from the sovereign territory of Armenia, while Azerbaijan refuses to comply and insists that the territories in question, in fact, belong to Azerbaijan.
When commenting on the recent events, the Armenian Foreign Ministry stated that “the introduction of a false agenda on the so-called disputed territories may become a dangerous precedent for justifying the use of force in other regions as well”.
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Details of the recent incident at the border
“On May 20, at around 10 am, a group of Azerbaijani servicemen crossed the border near the village of Khoznavar in the Goris region. They walked about 1.5 km and settled down, after which they began to shout threats at the approaching Armenian servicemen. The Armenian military managed to turn them back to their original positions”, the statement of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Armenia says.
However, the Azerbaijani military made a second attempt to cross the border on the same day at 21:10, however, upon crossing it, they were met by the Armenian servicemen, and the dispute between the two sides turned into a fight. As a result, 11 Armenian soldiers were injured and hospitalized.
“The Armenian servicemen managed to expel the Azerbaijani soldiers to their original positions again”, the Prosecutor General’s Office reports.
Statement of the Armenian Ministry of Defense
The Armenian Ministry of Defense also issued a statement in connection with the incident between the Armenian and Azerbaijani military, which says that the conflict was resolved with the efforts of the higher command:
“In general, the situation is stable. Units of the Armed Forces of Armenia fully control the situation and keep Azerbaijani servicemen isolated. “
Foreign Ministry reaction
The Armenian Foreign Ministry also commented on the aggravated situation in Syunik, which the two sides have not been able to resolve for more than a week.
“Setting conditions through the use of force or the threat of force is a flagrant violation of international law. Armenia will not succumb to such pressure”, said MFA press secretary Anna Naghdalyan.
Anna Naghdalyan added that the demarcation and further delimitation of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan should become part of the process of a comprehensive peaceful settlement of the conflict. Within its framework, “the issues of de-occupation of the territories of Artsakh and determination of its final legal status under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group should be resolved”:
“In this situation, the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Azerbaijani armed forces from the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia to their initial positions as of May 11 can create the necessary conditions for resolving issues within the framework of political and diplomatic tools”.
Anna Naghdalyan also touched upon the question of how the international community reacts to the aggravation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border:
“Our international partners, acting from the standpoint of international law and sincerely interested in stability and security in the South Caucasus, have unequivocally stated that Azerbaijan must immediately and unconditionally withdraw its troops from the sovereign territory of Armenia”.