Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenian-backed armed forces threatened late on Tuesday to respond strongly to what they called a sharp rise in ceasefire violations by Azerbaijani forces deployed near the disputed territory.
“In recent days violations of the ceasefire regime have quadrupled,” the Karabakh Defense Ministry said in a statement issued one day after one of its soldiers was shot and wounded at a southern section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Karabakh.
The statement urged Azerbaijan to “take steps to stabilize the situation on the line of contact.” “In case of a further escalation of the situation on the frontline the Defense Army will take all necessary measures to silence the enemy,” it said without elaborating.
Davit Babayan, a spokesman for Bako Sahakian, the Karabakh president, accused Baku of deliberately heightening tension on the frontline ahead of a visit to the conflict zone by the Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and another Armenian-Azerbaijani summit expected later this month.
Armenia’s Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian likewise spoke on Tuesday of rising tensions around Karabakh and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. “The escalation on Armenia’s border is particularly unacceptable to us,” he said.
The Azerbaijani government did not respond to these claims as of Wednesday evening. The Defense Ministry in Baku accuses the Armenians of breaching the ceasefire on a virtually daily basis.
Deadly fighting on the frontlines intensified dramatically in early August, leading Russian President Vladimir Putin to host an emergency meeting of his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts. Truce violations there decreased substantially after the summit held in the Russian city of Sochi on August 10.