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Russian Border Guards Beef Up Deployment In Armenian Region


A Russian military post on a highway running along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

Russian border guards reportedly set up an additional post on Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan at the weekend after what Armenian officials described as gunshots fired by Azerbaijani forces.

Authorities in Armenia’s Syunik province said on Monday that Azerbaijani servicemen deployed near Agarak, an Armenian village several kilometers east of the provincial capital Kapan, continuously fired small arms in the air on Saturday for unknown reasons.

According the provincial administration, Russian border guards deployed in the area documented the sporadic gunfire and established an additional outpost at the border section in response to the incident.

The village chief, Hayk Sahakian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that there was no further shooting there on Sunday and Monday. Despite the relative calm many, villagers remain concerned about their security, he said, arguing that the nearest Azerbaijani position is only about 1 kilometer from Agarak.

The office of the Armenian human rights ombudsman, Arman Tatoyan, released what it described as a mobile phone video shot by an Armenian border guard deployed outside Agarak. The short video caught the sound of intense automatic gunfire.

In a statement, Tatoyan said that such gunshots are a regular occurrence in Syunik villages bordering three districts southwest of Nagorno-Karabakh which were retaken by Azerbaijan during and after the autumn war. He condemned the incidents as a security threat to the local population.

“They shoot sporadically,” said Sahakian. “When they use tracer bullets we can see that they fire towards the village.”

During the six-week war Russia deployed soldiers and border guards to Syunik to help the Armenian military defend the region against possible Azerbaijani attacks. Russian troops currently also patrol sections of the main regional highway running along the Armenian-Azerbaijani frontier.

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