Armenia’s Ministry of Defense said the incident happened at the Yeraskh section of the Armenian border with Azerbaijan’s exclave of Nakhijevan on Wednesday morning.
It accused Azerbaijan’s armed forces of attempting to advance their military posts closer to Armenian positions by conducting fortification work with the use of engineering machinery. “After the Armenian army undertook measures to force Azerbaijani servicemen to stop that work, the Azerbaijani military opened targeted fire on the Armenian positions. As a result of the shoot-out, one Armenian serviceman was fatally wounded. Azerbaijan also suffered casualties,” the Armenian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
“Armenia’s Defense Ministry strongly condemns another provocation of the Azerbaijani side and warns that such provocations will face fierce counteraction. All responsibility for further escalation of the situation lies with the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan,” it added.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry, for its part, accused the Armenian armed forces of firing at the military positions of the Azerbaijani army in the territory of Nakhichevan, as a result of which one Azerbaijani serviceman was wounded. The Azerbaijani side said that the situation in the mentioned direction was stabilized after Azerbaijani forces returned fire.
The foreign ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan also issued statements, exchanging blame for the incident.
Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in particular, accused Azerbaijan of “trying to create new sources of tensions and undermining regional peace and security.”
Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for its part, condemned “attempts of the Armenian side to disturb fragile peace in the region by means of regular shootings at Azerbaijani positions.”
This is the second border incident in which an Armenian serviceman gets killed since Armenia accused Azerbaijan of advancing several kilometers into its sovereign territory at several border sections in May.
On May 25, Armenia claimed its soldier was killed in the country’s Gegharkunik district in a skirmish that Azerbaijan denied.
The tense situation comes eight months after the two South Caucasus neighbors ended a six-week war over Nagorno-Karabakh. The conflict, which claimed more than 6,000 lives, ended in November 2020 with a Moscow-brokered cease-fire that saw Armenia ceding swaths of territory that ethnic Armenians had controlled for decades.
Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian forces accused each other of firing shots in the vicinity of Shushi (Susa) late on Tuesday. No casualties were reported by either side.