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Fighting Reported Near Armenian-Iranian Border


NAGORNO-KARABAKH -- A fragment of a Smerch rocket sticks out of the ground near the town of Martuni, October 26, 2020

Fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone reportedly spread on Tuesday to an area adjacent to Armenia’s border with Iran.

The Armenian Defense Ministry accused the Azerbaijani army of shelling its border posts and wounding several Armenian servicemen in the morning. The Azerbaijani side used artillery and combat drones, it said, adding that one of those unmanned aerial vehicles was shot down over Armenian territory.

A ministry spokeswoman, Shushan Stepanian, said Armenian army units and border guards had to strike back in response. They inflicted “considerable losses” on the Azerbaijani side, she wrote on Facebook early in the afternoon.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry denied violating in the ceasefire in that area. It said that Armenian forces themselves opened “intense mortar fire” at its troops stationed in the Zangelan district bordering Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province and northwestern Iran.

The reported shelling took place near the Armenian-Iranian frontier which has long been protected by Russian border guards.

Russia also has up to 5,000 soldiers stationed in other parts of Armenia in line with bilateral treaties that commit Moscow to defending Yerevan against foreign aggression.

Shortly after the outbreak of the war in and around Karabakh on September 27, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow will fulfill its defense obligations to its South Caucasus ally. He noted at the same time that “the hostilities are not being carried out on the territory of Armenia.”

The hostilities continued on the Karabakh frontlines on Tuesday, with the warring sides continuing to accuse each other of not respecting another Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire agreement that was brokered by the United States over the weekend.

It emerged that the commander of Karabakh’s Armenia-backed Defense Army, Lieutenant-General Jalal Harutiunian, was replaced by another general, Mikael Arzumanian, late on Monday after being reportedly wounded in action.

Karabakh authorities did not specify the circumstances in which Harutiunian suffered the injuries. They said that his life is not at risk.

The Defense Army army claimed to have repelled on Monday a “large-scale” Azerbaijani offensive in southeastern Karabakh which it said was launched just hours after the entry into force of the U.S.-brokered truce agreement.

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