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Armenian Soldiers, Civilian Wounded Near Azeri Border


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

Two soldiers guarding Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan and a teenage resident of an Armenian border village were reportedly wounded on Monday evening in what Yerevan described as Azerbaijani ceasefire violations.

The Armenian Defense Ministry reported that the soldiers sustained light wounds as their unit repelled an Azerbaijani raid on its positions in the northern Tavush province bordering the Gazakh district in western Azerbaijan.

A ministry statement said Azerbaijani forces also shot at two Armenian villages located in the area: Baghanis and Voskevan. It said a boy in Voskevan was wounded as a result.

Tavush’s governor, Hayk Chobanian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that the boy was shot in the chest and rushed to hospital. His life is not at risk now, said Chobanian.

“In order to stabilize the situation in the border zone and to counter the brazen actions by Azerbaijani forces … taken amid the [coronavirus] pandemic the Armenian Armed Forces will resort to actions commensurate with the situation. Azerbaijan’s military-political leadership will be fully responsible for the consequences,” read the Defense Ministry statement.

Another Armenian soldier deployed in Tavush was wounded on Friday, according to the ministry.

Azerbaijan’s State Border Guard Service, whose troops protect the Tavush-Gazakh section of the frontier, denied opening fire on the Armenian villages and said it was the Armenian side that fired at an Azerbaijani border village from heavy machine-guns. It said its troops shot back in response, according to the Trend news agency.

Three Azerbaijani border guards were shot dead in the same area earlier this year. One of them was reportedly killed on March 5 one day before the Armenian military claimed to have thwarted a similar Azerbaijani incursion attempt. Baku denied the alleged attack and accused the Armenian side of violating the ceasefire.

Tensions along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border section have been on the rise in recent months despite an overall decrease in truce violations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone observed since October 2018.

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