The Armenian military said on Wednesday that its forces opened fire to repel a dozen Azerbaijani soldiers who approached its frontline positions at a western section of Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan.
The Defense Ministry in Yerevan claimed that the soldiers were in an “inadequate condition” and had an “irregular appearance.”
“They ignored warning shots and continued to advance in a manner not characteristic of military servicemen,” read a ministry statement. “In order to prevent the provocation, Armenian border troops opened fire, as a result of which the enemy may have suffered casualties.”
“Full responsibility for the incident falls on the Azerbaijani side,” added the statement.
There was no immediate reaction to these claims from official Baku. Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry did not report ceasefire violations along the Armenian-Azerbaijani frontier on Wednesday.
Baku accused the Armenian side of repeatedly violating the ceasefire regime at the main Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Nagorno-Karabakh earlier this week. An Azerbaijani army conscript was reportedly wounded there on Tuesday. According to the Azerbaijani military, another serviceman, 24-year-old Lieutenant Shahriyar Mammadov, was shot and killed by Armenian forces near Karabakh on Monday.
U.S., Russian and French mediators twice crossed the Karabakh frontline and monitored the conflicting parties’ adherence to the ceasefire as they ended their most recent tour of the Karabakh conflict zone late last week. In a joint statement issued in Vienna on Tuesday, the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group said they discussed “recent security incidents” there with Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders.
“The Co-Chairs noted the relative calm that prevailed on the Line of Contact during the period of Novruz and Easter, and expressed their hope that this would continue,” said the statement.