Several wounded, killed in recent Armenian-Azerbaijani border clash
Seceral clashes were reported on the night of July 28 at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border with casualties on both sides. The Armenian Defense Ministry has officially announced that it links the aggravation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border with the meeting of the Defense Ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia scheduled for July 28.
Statements from Yerevan
On the morning of July 28, the Armenian Defense Ministry made a statement about the local clashes on the border with Azerbaijan which began at about 03:40.
“Subdivisions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces once again undertook a provocation and violated the ceasefire in the northeastern section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border”, the first message of the Ministry of Defense said.
The entire responsibility for the aggravation was laid on the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan.
As of 9.20 am, the Armenian Defense Ministry reported that the units of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces attacking the Armenian positions in the direction of Gegurkunik (Sotk – Verin Shorzha) were thrown back, on the remaining sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border the situation was stable and under the full control of the Armenian Armed Forces.
It has been reported that three Armenian soldiers were killed and four were wounded during the border stand-off.
The Armenian Defense Ministry believes that the Azerbaijani side has launched a military provocation in order to improve its position before the talks in Moscow. A trilateral meeting of the defense ministers of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan is scheduled for July 28.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry also issued a statement:
“It is noteworthy that the Azerbaijani side deliberately aggravates the situation in conditions when the illegal presence of the Azerbaijani armed forces on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia continues, and the Azerbaijani leadership justifies such actions by presenting territorial and historical claims to Armenia.
In response to the use of force by Azerbaijan against the territorial integrity of Armenia, the Republic of Armenia used all of its military-political tools in accordance with international law. We strongly condemn the military actions of the Azerbaijani side against peace and security in the region. All responsibility for the further aggravation of the situation lies with the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan”.
The Armenian Defense Ministry confirmed the information that an agreement on a ceasefire was reached with the mediation of Russia from 10.00 and stated that the agreement was being implemented.
However, the Ombudsman of Armenia Arman Tatoyan reported that as of 10-30, the shelling of 6 villages in Gegharkunik region continued – both from small-caliber and large-caliber weapons. Residents of the villages of Sotk, Kut, Azat, Norabak, Nerkin Shorzha, Verin Shorzha called the ombudsman’s office and reported targeted fire in their direction.
The Ombudsman called on the international community to pay special attention to the official announcement of the Ministry of Defense that the attacks of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces are political in nature:
“The firefight is provoked by the Azerbaijani armed forces. The shelling is carried out both in the immediate vicinity of the settlements, and directly on them”.
A meeting with the military attaches of the diplomatic missions accredited in Armenia was held at the Armenian Defense Ministry. Head of the Main Directorate of Defense Policy and International Cooperation Levon Ayvazyan presented the situation at the border to them.
He stated that this is the largest provocation of Azerbaijan after the signing of a trilateral statement of November 9, 2020 on the cessation of hostilities in Karabakh. He stressed that the shelling poses an immediate threat to the civilian population of nearby settlements.
The position of the Armenian side is unambiguous: the units of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan should be withdrawn from the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia.
On May 12, the Azerbaijani military crossed the border and advanced several kilometers deep into the sovereign territory of Armenia in two directions – in the Syunik and Gegharkunik regions. Units of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan have entrenched themselves there and established their positions, despite the demands of the Armenian side to leave these territories. The negotiations did not produce much results.
Since that time, incidents have occurred periodically in different parts of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, leaving two Armenian soldiers dead and several wounded.
Statements from Baku
“On July 28, at approximately 00:50, units of the armed forces of Armenia from combat positions located in various directions in the Basarkechar [Vardenis] region, once again subjected the positions of the Azerbaijani army in the Kelbajar region to intensive shelling from small arms and grenade launchers.
As a result of the shelling, two servicemen of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces were wounded – Sadig Nizami oglu Aliyev and Imran Dilgam oglu Imranli. The wounded were immediately provided with the first aid. Nothing threatens the life of our servicemen.
Units of the Azerbaijani army stationed in this direction are taking adequate measures.
We reiterate that Armenia bears full responsibility for the escalation of tensions along the state border between the two countries”, the press service of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said.
Soon, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry issued another statement:
“Our units have taken the necessary steps to neutralize the enemy’s firing points.
Reports of damage to civilian objects on the territory of Armenia do not correspond to reality and are disseminated solely for the purpose of disinformation. The Armenian military-political leadership, true to its traditions, continues to disseminate false information in order to mislead the Armenian and international community.
We call on the military-political leadership of Armenia to refrain from provocations and deliberate aggravation of the situation on the state border of the two countries with the aim of a military adventure and to begin negotiations on the delimitation of the state border in a civilized manner.
The Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan once again declares that the responsibility for the aggravation of the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border lies entirely with the military-political leadership of the Republic of Armenia.
At present, the operational situation in the indicated direction is controlled by our units.
To ensure the inviolability of the borders of Azerbaijan, all provocations of Armenia will continue to be resolutely suppressed”.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan also made a statement.
“The responsibility for the next provocation and aggravation of the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border lies entirely with the military-political leadership of Armenia.
We call on Armenia to accept the new realities in the region, stop military provocations and start negotiations on the delimitation of the border between the two states.
Azerbaijan reserves the right to defend its territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders, and a decisive response will be given to any steps aimed at violating our territorial integrity”, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.
“Azerbaijan reserves the right to defend its territorial integrity. Any steps against our territorial integrity will be answered decisively! “, the press secretary of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Leyla Abdullayeva wrote on Twitter.
According to the Azerbaijani politician, one of the leaders of the opposition Republican Alternative party Natik Jafarli, if Nikol Pashinyan is behind the provocations on the state border, he wants to show the Armenian society the failure of the CSTO and Russia as serious allies:
“They say, why should we be in the same organization with them, ,Pashinyan says. Because even if there are large-scale battles on the border, the CSTO will not intervene, this is currently impossible. And as a result, any success of the Azerbaijani army will accelerate the separation of Armenia from the Kremlin and thereby make it possible to sign a peace treaty.
But if Armenian generals associated with Moscow are behind the events on the border, their intentions are also clear – any major military failure of Armenia will allow Russia, which could not ensure the defeat of Pashinyan in the elections, to bring Kocharyan and his people from the street to power”, the politician added.
According to Jafarli, Pashinyan’s victory in the elections with a great advantage and his rapprochement with the European Union and France ” clearly irritates Russia”.
“What should we do in such a situation? It can be seen that Azerbaijan has a chance to increase its military superiority – but we must play wisely, not succumb to euphoria, refrain from populist steps, and not play by the rules of the Kremlin.
Now we need peace, sustainable peace, recognition of borders, and unblocking communications is a priority. We must leave aside the populist sentiments of returning to Zangezur, Goych, Iravan in tanks, and return to our historical lands with a strong economy, growing demographic superiority, and a rule of law. It is a long, but strong and sensible path.
A hungry “wolf” lives in our region, feeding on the tension of the situation, or rather, it is not even a “wolf”, but a “bear”. We must understand this and act accordingly.
Azerbaijan is strengthening its “de facto” and “de jure” alliances, which is very good, but there is euphoria, which is bad. If the Kremlin achieves with military and political tension what it could not achieve through the elections, and Kocharyan returns to power, attempts at even greater provocations on the border and on our territory are possible to establish him and increase his authority”, Jafarli added.