Three Armenian soldiers were wounded on Friday when the Azerbaijani army shelled their frontline positions just southeast of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Karabakh’s Armenian-backed military also alleged renewed Azerbaijani artillery fire from Alkhanli, an Azerbaijani village in the area where two civilians were killed on Tuesday.
The Defense Army released video that purportedly shows Azerbaijani troops opening fire late on Thursday with a cannon positioned several dozen meters from village houses. It portrayed the footage as further proof that Alkhanli residents are being used as “human shields” in skirmishes with Karabakh Armenian forces.
A 50-year-old resident of the village and her 2-year-old granddaughter were killed by what the Azerbaijani side described as Armenian shelling. Baku has accused the Armenian side of deliberately targeting Azerbaijani civilians living near the Karabakh “line of contact.” It has also strongly denied deploying artillery units in the village.
Later in the day, the Karabakh Armenian army reported that Azerbaijani forces heavily shelled its positions with light cannons, mortars and even 122-milimeter howitzers, wounding three of its soldiers. In a statement, it said its frontline troops are “taking retaliatory actions.”
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry confirmed the shelling, saying that it was carried out in order to avenge the deaths of the two villagers and thwart a fresh Armenian “provocation.”
The U.S., Russian and French mediators leading the OSCE Minsk Group called on the conflicting parties to “cease military action” and “return to the negotiation table” following the Alkhanli incident.