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Armenia, Azerbaijan Accuse Each Other Of Border Shooting


Armenian soldiers taking up positions on the border with Azerbaijan, May 17, 2021.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of opening fire at eastern and north-eastern sections of their border amid a continuing standoff between their troops since incidents in May.

On Monday, Armenia’s Ministry of Defense denied accusations from Azerbaijan that Armenian servicemen opened fire at Azerbaijani army positions in the northeastern Tavush province in an incident that Baku claims happened late on June 27.

“This is another disinformation. The Armenian Armed Forces did not fire a single shot towards the Azerbaijani positions,” the Armenian Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

Earlier, Armenia denied Azerbaijan’s claims that its armed forces located in the eastern Gegharkunik province fired at Azerbaijani military positions. Moreover, Armenia accused Azerbaijan’s armed forces of firing indiscriminately towards the positions of its troops in the region.

The latest incidents come amid continuing discussions about the deployment of Russian troops in Gegharkunik to prevent a further escalation of the situation at the restive border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Under acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s decision, an Armenian government delegation is currently in Moscow to negotiate the issue of the expansion of Russia’s military base in Armenia.

Russian border-guards were already deployed at different sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in the southern Syunik province after last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh in which Baku recaptured several districts around the Armenian-populated region to restore its land border with Armenia in the south.

Armenia says Azerbaijani troops crossed several sections of the border on May 12-14 and advanced a few kilometers into Syunik and Gegharkunik, part of which borders on the Kelbajar district that was also retaken by Azerbaijan following the 44-day war.

At least one Armenian soldier has been killed in a border shooting incident since then. Dozens of soldiers on both sides were injured in reported brawls between the two opposing sides in which no firearms were used.

International partners of Armenia and Azerbaijan have urged both sides to disengage their troops and get down to delimitating and demarcating their borders to avoid any further escalation.

Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian indicated in late May that he was ready to sign a Russian-brokered deal to set up a committee for the purpose on condition that Azerbaijan withdraws its troops from what Yerevan says is sovereign Armenian territory.

Pashinian made that statement several days after Armenia formally appealed to the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization to hold consultations on its border dispute with Azerbaijan.

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