By Emil Danielyan
Armenian and Azerbaijani sources reported late Tuesday renewed fighting in the northeast of Nagorno-Karabakh, with each side blaming the other for the breach of the decade-long ceasefire regime.
The Defense Ministry of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic said a group of Azerbaijani soldiers attempted to cross the frontline near the Armenian-controlled village of Seysulan on a “reconnaissance and sabotage” mission before being repelled by Armenian forces.
“The enemy had to retreat as a result of a gunfight,” said a ministry statement. “The Karabakh side suffered no losses.”
The NKR military charged that the skirmish was part of Azerbaijan’s efforts to “destabilize the situation” along the line of contact north and east of Karabakh and move its troops closer to Armenian positions. “Any action by the Azerbaijani side threatening the security of Nagorno-Karabakh and aimed at destabilizing the situation in the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict zone will be resolutely thwarted,” it warned.
The Azerbaijani side confirmed the firefight but said it was the Karabakh Armenians who provoked it by firing on Azerbaijani positions.
“The enemy was silenced by Azerbaijani gunfire,” the Azerbaijani ANS television said, according to BBC. “Several enemy soldiers were killed in the attack. Four wounded Azerbaijani soldiers have been hospitalized.”
An ANS correspondent at the scene reported that sporadic gunfire could still be heard in the area on Tuesday.
Three Azerbaijani soldiers were taken prisoner near that section of the frontline last month after crossing into Armenian-held territory under still uncertain circumstances. The soldiers remain in Armenian captivity and it is not clear if Baku has already tried to negotiate their release.