Nagorno-Karabakh’s army said on Tuesday that its forces repelled fresh incursions launched by Azerbaijani troops overnight at eight different sections of “the line of contact” around the disputed territory.
The Defense Army claimed to have thwarted the commando raids and inflicted “losses” on the enemy. It also reported that one of its soldiers, Suren Pilosian, was killed by sniper fire from Azerbaijani army positions at one of those sections close to the Iranian border.
As always, the Azerbaijani military denied attacking Karabakh Armenian positions, saying that the Armenians themselves repeatedly violated the ceasefire over the past 24 hours. It also said that it suffered no casualties.
The latest fighting was reported the day after Andrzej Kasprzyk, the chief OSCE official monitoring the truce in the Karabakh conflict zone, visited Stepanakert and met with Karabakh Armenia leaders. Bako Sahakian, the Karabakh president, was cited by his office as telling Kasprzyk that Azerbaijan is continuing to undermine international mediators’ effort to broker an Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement. Sahakian urged the international community to take “concrete steps” against Baku.
“They are firing from other weapons such as grenade launchers which they didn’t dare to use before,” Sahakian’s spokesman, Davit Babayan, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Tuesday.
“The international community should take tougher steps,” he said. “There are already signs of that happening.”
The military authorities in Stepanakert and Yerevan say that Azerbaijani incursions have increased dramatically since the beginning of this month. Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian last week ordered the Armenian military to launch “preventive” offensive operations in response to such attacks.
Sergey Minasian, an Armenian defense analyst, claimed that Baku is heightening tensions on the frontlines to exert pressure on the Armenian side and the U.S., Russian and French mediators. But he said the Azerbaijani military is still not prepared for a full-scale war.
“The international community is doing everything to prevent full-scale hostilities but seems incapable of intervening in the frontline incidents that kill dozens soldiers,” said Minasian.