By Emil Danielyan
Skirmishes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces deployed northeast of Nagorno-Karabakh were reported to have continued on Friday for the fourth consecutive day, leading to more recriminations from the two sides.
Military sources in Stepanakert told RFE/RL that one Armenian soldier has been shot dead and two others wounded since the outbreak of fighting on Tuesday. The Azerbaijani side has also reported several casualties this week.
An Azerbaijani soldier was reportedly wounded in the head on Friday by automatic gunfire from the Armenian-controlled part of Azerbaijan’s Aghdam district. The Azerbaijani TV station ANS said Karabakh Armenian forces fired on Azerbaijani positions from assault rifles and machine guns throughout the day.
Each side accuses the other of breaching a ceasefire that has largely held since May 1994. The Defense Ministry of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic issued Friday another statement blaming the fighting on continuing Azerbaijani attempts to move closer to Armenian positions and carry out “sabotage” missions across the fortified line of contact.
“Any action by the Azerbaijani side threatening the security of the NKR and aimed at destabilizing the situation in the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict zone will once again be resolutely thwarted,” the statement said.
The ceasefire regime around Karabakh and along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border has been regularly monitored by officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. It is yet clear if they plan to inspect the northeastern section of the Karabakh frontline in the coming days.