Two Armenian and two Azerbaijani soldiers died early on Friday amid continuing ceasefire violations reported from “the line of contact” around Nagorno-Karabakh and the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Narek Poghosian, a 26-year-old Armenian sergeant, was shot dead at a section of the frontline in southeastern Karabakh early in the morning. News reports citing Karabakh Armenian military sources said he was killed in an Azerbaijani incursion. They claimed that the Azerbaijani side suffered three casualties in the assault.
Karabakh’s Defense Army issued no official statements on the fatal incident as of Friday evening.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry reported that early in the morning one of its soldiers committed suicide after killing one of his comrades and wounding another. It said the incident took place at a frontline army unit deployed in western Azerbaijan. It was not clear whether these shootings occurred near Karabakh.
Another Armenian soldier was found dead on Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave. Citing “preliminary” conclusions of military investigators, Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian said later in the day that the 20-year-old conscript, Grisha Khachatrian, most probably shot himself by accident.
Ohanian spoke to journalists after inspecting Armenian army positions along the border with Nakhichevan. Truce violations there were rare until recently. Two Armenian soldiers serving there were killed by Azerbaijani sniper fire on June 5, leading the Defense Ministry in Yerevan to threaten Baku with “severe consequences.”
The Armenian military reportedly retaliated by moving forward its outposts at another section of the Nakhichevan frontier. Razm.info, a Yerevan-based defense news website, said earlier this week that roughly 100 square kilometers of neutral or contested territory was placed under Armenian control as a result. The publication released photographs that show Armenian soldiers taking and fortifying positions on snow-capped mountains.
In a statement released on Thursday, The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry denied losing any ground in the area. Still, some Azerbaijani media outlets reported last week that the Armenians have launched an “offensive” on Nakhichevan.
Fresh fighting also broke out late on Thursday at the westernmost section of Armenia’s long border with the rest of Azerbaijan. According to the APA news agency, three civilian residents of Alibeyli, an Azerbaijani border village, including a 5-year-old girl, were wounded and hospitalized as a result of cross-border gunfire from the Armenian side.
The nearby Armenian village of Aygepar was also reported to have come under fire. “The Azerbaijanis fired on our villages for around 90 minutes,” the village mayor, Andranik Aidianian, told Aysor.am. “They stopped after our troops returned fire.”