Karabakh: new clashes along the line of contact
photo: Gevorg Ghazaryan
Information from Armenia
On 17 June, a ceasefire along the line of contact was broken. At 09:40 local time, Narek Gasparyan from the Karabakh defense army was shot dead, – the Armenian media reported, quoting the Karabakh defense ministry press service.
The Karabakh defense ministry expressed condolences to the family. It also stated that its “…response to the actions of the adversary, initiated by the vague statements made by some international organisations, will be precise and asymmetrical.”
The statement was made due to the fact that on 16 June, three Karabakh servicemen – Araik Matinyan, Vigen Petrosyan, Vardan Sarkisyan – had been shot dead from anti-tank grenade launchers.
David Babayan, the press secretary for the Nagorhy Karabakh president commented: “There is nothing strange in Azerbaijan`s actions… this country has committed another terrorist act.”
In David Babayan`s opinion, these actions meet the approval on part of Turkey, Azerbaijan`s partner in massive military training that is being held at the moment. He also believes them to be a Baku response to the statements by the OSCE peace-keeping group chairmen, which calls for a strong and concrete response on part of the chairmen.
Ara Babaloyan, the Armenia National Assembly speaker, who is now in Karabakh for the forum of political parties, commented on his FB page: “What Baku has done is called murder. Being aware of the inevitable response they neglected human lives for the sake of a political caprice. I can find no explanation for the silence on the part of the international community.”
Aykazn Gagriyan, a political observer for Armenia Lgarir writes:
“After the trainings in Nakhichevan which were held jointly with Turkey, Azerbaijan plans to launch massive trainings on 19 June involving 20 000 servicemen, numerous military equipment including aircraft. During the training such incidents usually happen.
“Judging by the number of victims, Azerbaijan was the aggressor. The attack has obviously been planned in advance. The Armenian media have reported though that the servicemen were shot by sniper fire. The incident occurred after some outside actors refused to help Azerbaijan in its effort to find a way out of political and military conflicts. But along the line of contact its policy remains unchanged.”
Information from Azerbaijan
The Azeri Defense ministry claims the Armenian side has lost not three but five servicemen – Myasnik Hovhanissyan and Vardan Harutyunyan were heavily wounded.
“The Armenian side is, as usual, concealing the losses as they are scared of justifying public disappointment,” the APA agency quoted a report made by the Defense ministry.
Two days prior to the incident with the Armenian servicemen, Sultan Shakhveledov was killed on the front line. The Defense ministry reported that it happened when Shakhveledov was taking part in an effort to stop a provocation by the Armenian army. On 16 June he was buried in the Gusar district.
Political analyst Elkhan Shakhinoglu, director of the Atlas Centre, commented on the new clashes:
“The Armenian side reported the losses. It is usually the Azeri Defense ministry who provides such information first. Each time Yerevan makes an effort to conceal its losses. This time it’s vise versa. Obviously it is an attempt to inform the international community that the Azeri army keeps on trying to tip the balance on the front line. We have spent billions of dollars on the army – not for the sake of a ceasefire.”