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Armenian Military Reports Azeri Incursion Attempt


Armenia -- Soldiers pictured during a military exercise in Tavush, March 26, 2019.

The Armenian military claimed to have thwarted early on Friday an Azerbaijani commando raid on one of its positions along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan.

According to the Defense Ministry in Yerevan, an Azerbaijani “sabotage” unit attacked the outpost but was repelled by Armenian soldiers deployed there, “suffering losses” as a result.

The ministry published photographs of a German-manufactured mine detector and combat ammunition which it said were left by the enemy at the scene.

“The Armenian side suffered no casualties. One soldier was lightly wounded as a result of the actions,” the ministry added in a statement on the pre-dawn incident which it said occurred in Armenia’s northern Tavush province bordering the Gazakh district in western Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan’s State Border Guard Service, whose troops protect that section of the border, denied the attempted incursion. It said that Armenian troops opened “intensive” fire on some of its positions from heavy machine-guns and sniper rifles early in the morning.

Armenia -- A photograph of a mine detector and ammunition which the Armenian military says was left behind by an Azerbaijani commando unit, March 6, 2020.
Armenia -- A photograph of a mine detector and ammunition which the Armenian military says was left behind by an Azerbaijani commando unit, March 6, 2020.

One Azerbaijani soldier was reportedly killed in the area on Thursday evening. The Armenian Defense Ministry said shortly afterwards that Azerbaijani forces deployed there have been systematically violating the ceasefire in recent days and pledged to respond to the “provocations.”

“The Azerbaijani provocations are continuing,” the ministry spokesman, Artsrun Hovannisian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Friday. “The Armenian side is responding [to such incidents] with one or two precise shots, which result in appropriate consequences,” he said.

Tensions at the Tavush-Gazakh section of the heavily militarized frontier have been on the rise in recent weeks despite an overall decrease in truce violations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict observed since October 2018.

Three Azerbaijani border guards have been killed there since the beginning of this year, according to authorities in Baku. The Armenian military has so far reported no combat casualties within its ranks in 2020.

“During the same period our soldiers have been wounded as a result of enemy actions,” Hovannisian said in this regard. “It is only natural that we retaliated adequately for our wounded soldiers, which may have had [fatal] consequences.”

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